Style Court

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


Face Time

[On the left, portrait of Reverend Ceasar Ledbetter by Edwin Augustus Harleston (American, 1882 – 1931) and on the right, Ms. Johnson (Estelle) by Barkley Hendricks (American, b. 1945).]

If you're thinking of visiting Charleston, South Carolina in the fall when the heat subsides, consider a stop at the Gibbes Museum of Art to see Face Lift, an upcoming exhibition on view September 3 through December 5, 2010. Many strong portraits are part of the museum's permanent collection and Face Lift will juxtapose the old with the contemporary, exploring trends in American portraiture from the 18th century to present day. The striking 1921 portrait by Edwin Harleston, shown above on the left, is actually on view right now as part of a summer installation of the artist's work. It's on loan from the Ledbetter family and is scheduled to remain in the gallery through August. Barkley Hendricks' Ms. Johnson, pictured right, has been on the road for the touring show Birth of the Cool, but she calls the Gibbes home.

While I'm fascinated by portraits, regular readers know that I also have a mini obsession with book covers from the 1960s and early 70s that eschewed faces of people in favor of graphic typeface. (Examples here.) So, when I was flipping through the most recent issue of Selvedge and noticed a review for the art history/textile history book, Whole Cloth,  I paused.

Published in 1997, Whole Cloth examines a lot of territory: the authors explore the history of cloth itself and how fine artists such as Picasso began using fabric in modern mixed media works. Like  The World in Vogue design, the Cloth cover doesn't highlight an individual and it leaves much to the imagination. Is the red very tactile? Not sure. Normally I stick to describing books I own or have seen in person. Whole Cloth I've not touched yet; just wanted to share an image of the design.


Emile de Bruijn said...

I have a copy of this book, and the cover is indeed beautifully done in red cloth and with the letters embossed (if that is the right technical term), so its very tactile.

Although the text is quite theory-heavy and perhaps covers slightly too much ground, the book does also have a lot of beautiful examples of textile art.

Style Court said...


Great to know. So glad you took time to share this description. Thanks!