Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women

Marguerite Zorach

Marguerite Zorach’s “pictures in wool” are bold and vibrant explorations of color that often incorporate imagery from her own life. My Home in Fresno around the Year 1900 is a portrait of the artist’s childhood. In a 1956 essay, she described planning this work for years, to include “A large white gingerbread house, light and airy and delightful in stitches; the magnolia trees and palms, fences and flowers; children at night playing hide and seek under the street lamp,” are all seen here.   

Zorach began experimenting with embroidery after her travels abroad as a young artist. Influenced by the avant-garde artists she met in Paris and their exploration of color, she found paint’s colors to be tired and dull. Wool, in contrast, was a new world of brilliant colors with more possibilities—the artist would search through her collection of wools to find the perfect hue.