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Trude Guermonprez papers, circa 1900-1987, bulk 1932-1976

Biographical Note

Trude Guermonprez (1910-1976) was a fiber artist and educator in San Francisco, California.
Guermonprez was born in Germany to Dr. Heinrich and Jalena Jalowetz and attended the Municipal School of Arts and Crafts in Halle Saale, Germany where she learned weaving from Bauhaus artist Benita Otte. In 1933, her parents and sister Lisa immigrated to the United States. Her parents began teaching at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Guermonprez stayed with her husband, photographer Paul Guermonprez, in the Netherlands where he became involved in the Dutch resistance during World War II. Paul was killed fighting with the resistance on D-Day in 1944. After his death, Guermonprez decided to move to the United States to be with her mother and sister. Her father had died a year earlier. Guermonprez temporarily led the weaving program at Black Mountain College when Josef and Anni Albers went on sabbatical, and eventually she became a full time faculty member. When the weaving program ended in 1949, she left North Carolina for California to join her former classmate Marguerite Wildenhain at Pond Farm Workshops. There she met her second husband, craftsman John Elsesser. They moved to San Francisco and Guermonprez began teaching at the California College of Art and Design. She was designated chair of the crafts department in 1960.
Outside of teaching, Guermonprez completed designs for textile companies and commissions while still creating her own works of fiber art. She gained little recognition during her career, winning a couple of awards before her death from cancer in 1976. Her only exhibition, The Tapestries of Trude Guermonprez, was held several years after her death in 1982 at the Oakland Museum of California.