Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Inspiration is Free

[Detail view via LACMA.]

Here's a little example of the geometric textiles I'm highlighting in an upcoming post. Part of LACMA's celebrated collection of master Kuba cloths, it's a late 19th to early 20th century raffia palm plain weave from the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire).

Each year LACMA invites its Collectors Committee to vote on new acquisitions. During an event that is somewhat like the High Museum's debut Collectors' Evening, curators from various departments pitch potential acquisitions and hope the votes swing their way. In 2009,  LACMA's group of patrons voted to acquire 117 outstanding Kuba aristocracy textiles from artist and scholar Georges Meurant's collection. (Meurant wrote the book mentioned in a previous post, Shoowa Design: African Textiles from the Kingdom of Kuba, and one of LACMA's new acquisitions made the cover of Hali summer 2009.)

Jed Johnson's large-scale L' Africain Savanna, a cotton-linen blend, kind of walks the line between a stylized zebra print and something reminiscent of a traditional African pattern.

[Image copyright National Geographic.]

I'm not quite as bad with geography as I am with spelling (wish I could blame that on high concept classes that eschewed memorization -- sadly, it's just me) but between reading real news about contemporary Africa and doing research for recent posts, I had to break down and admit it wouldn't hurt for me to consult a map. National Geographic's interactive version is helpful.  

If you can navigate your way to 5905 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, LACMA is offering free general admission for all on Memorial Day, May 31. And the list of Blue Star museums continues to grow; currently more than 700 (including LACMA, the High, and the Carlos) are now offering free summer admission to active duty military personnel and their families. Click here for details.

[Image via LACMA.]


Boxwood Terrace said...

This looks like a fascinating collection of textiles. I'm certain I would enjoy seeing these up close and personal. Thanks for sharing the inspiration.

Mélanie A. said...

I love ethnic fabrics and you always show us the best samples. The new french Elle decor is about african inspiration and it is fabulous

Style Court said...


Thanks for the tip! I'm glad this caught your eye, and Boxwood's too. Have a great weekend.

La Maison Fou said...

Oh I love these textiles. Wonderful marks and the timeowrn look and feel of the fabics is uncommomly goodlooking.

I was at a local store yesterday, my sis and I. this guy buys bi monthly in NYC but from all over the world. Picked up a carved wooden box with four compartments inside for painting the faces of young coming of age Indian girls.
The boxes symbolize a rite of passage. I am researching now and I will blog later this weekend on it. Very interesting, he also has a wonderful collection of vintage weaved textiles.
Fabulous finds!

Have a wonderful weekend.

The Peak of Chic said...

The first time I saw a Kuba cloth many years ago, I didn't love it. But now, I think they're beautiful, exquisite, and timeless.