Style Court

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


Pattern Play: Caitlin McGauley

[Unless credited otherwise all illustrations and products ©Caitlin McGauley.
 Images courtesy the artist.]
Look at the lively sense of pattern in Chelsea-based Caitlin McGauley's work. Her elephants and donkeys are always smartly dressed, and she renders layered interiors with flair.

[Click to enlarge.]

This eye for detail -- not to mention her way with color -- attracts clients including Tory Burch, Lonny magazine, Hermes, Christie's, and West Elm.

She counts among her admirers in the press WSJ's Off Duty. Apart from her talent, I think this is because Caitlin has a strong spirit of adventure and a terrific sense of humor, too. I find her influences global but her sensibility very fresh, East Coast American.

[McGauley's portrait of Vogue's always-dapper, endlessly-knowledgeable, and lilac-loving editor at large.]

Intrigued by the references in her paintings, I asked Caitlin about her love of textiles. She also shared a bit about her varied sources of inspiration.

SC: Tell me about your affinity for fabric. Your favorites?

CM: I am a textile fanatic and have had the great luck to work at Ralph Lauren Home, which was a wonderful experience and education. While working there, I was able to visit places like the Design Library in Wappingers Falls, NY, and rifle through all of the racks and stacks of fabric and art. Heaven!!

[Atelier Martine, Digitalis, circa 1912. Design for wallpaper. Via...] 

Consequently, I am drawn to vintage patterns that look hand done and painterly. I love the wallpapers by Atelier Martine, the print workshop founded by Paul Poirret. Raoul Dufy's textiles are also an inspiration.

In terms of modern textiles, I would love nothing more than to have a room wallpapered in anything by Eskayel, especially Galileo Glass in indigo. The pattern is spectacular! 

[John Singer Sargent American, 1856-1925 Fumée d'Ambre Gris 1880. Oil on canvas 139.1 x 90.6 cm Acquired by Sterling Clark, 1914.]

SC: Favorite museums to get your creative energy going?

CM: My husband's parents live in the Berkshires so when we visit, I like to go to the Clark at Williams College. They have the most beautiful Sargent, Fumée d'Ambre Gris (Smoke of Ambergris).

Also nearby is MASS MoCA with its massive Sol LeWitt retrospective which is so impressive. There's plenty of time to see it because it's up until 2033!

SC: Books you love?

 [Jean de Brunhoff, aquarelle originale pour Histoire de Babar, le petit éléphant, p. 20, 1931 
New York, Morgan Library © DR]

CM: I look at books illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans and Jacqueline Duheme for inspiration. I also love old Babar books, and children's books by Leo Lionni. They have such charm and sophistication.

[Lionni via McGauley]
I have always been interested in children's book illustration, and look forward to the Children's Book Show at the Society of Illustrators each October.

[Courtney Barnes's photo of Duheme illustrated book, Mrs. Kennedy Goes Abroad.]

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