Modern Masters Tapestries in Fondren

The Modern Masters Tapestries series, which hung in the DeGolyer Library Reading Room before Fondren’s completed renovation in 2016, is now on view in Fondren’s Collaborative Commons and other areas of the library.

Mondrian Tapestries on wall
A few of the Modern Masters Tapestries on view at Fondren Library
Another view of a Modern Masters Tapestry at Fondren
Another view of a Modern Masters Tapestry at Fondren

 

“The Unicorn is Found,” from the Unicorn Tapestries; Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts
“The Unicorn is Found,” from the Unicorn Tapestries; Wool warp with wool, silk, silver, and gilt wefts Overall: 145 x 149 in. (368.3 x 378.5 cm), South Netherlandish, 1495-1505. Image courtesy the MET Museum, NY

A Bit of History about Tapestries

During the Middle Ages through the Renaissance (14th to 16th centuries), tapestries became commonplace in homes. In buildings with little insulation or heat, tapestries served the functional purpose – keeping the elements out and the heat in. Tapestries also served a secondary purpose – to display a sign of wealth and beauty. Like paintings, tapestries adorned the walls for those with financial means. Commissioned artisans were employed to design intricately woven designs in many of these tapestries, often creating beautiful mis-en-scènes or arranged scenery, that transported viewers to otherworldly lands. One of the most well-known series of such tapestries is the ornate seven-piece series, Hunt of the Unicorn, on display at the Cloisters in New York City. Even after centuries of exposure to sunlight and temperature, these 15th-century tapestries remain remarkably striking.

The Modern Masters Series

What was once considered craft is now seen as fine art. Since the 70s, many weaving companies began marketing their pieces to a wider audience, selling tapestries as the more affordable counterparts to paintings. One company that successfully merged the two was Modern Masters Tapestries. Modern Masters created large-scale reproductions of modernist paintings by artists including Joan Miró, Willem De Kooning, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, and Pablo Picasso. Modern Masters enlisted artisans to create tapestries that would find their way into commercial spaces and homes. Like the designs and motifs of the paintings created by these modern artists, the tapestries imbued color and personality in each room at a much lower cost than original paintings. People who wouldn’t normally have the means to afford a modernist painting could still have artwork reflective of their tastes. In Ruth J. Katz’s 1970s article on tapestries, she describes how textile design grew in popularity due to architects and designers finding new ways to incorporate textiles into both corporate and public spaces. Aesthetically pleasing designs and accents were no longer reserved for private spaces. The other spaces people frequented each day grew to feel like extensions of the home.

Phyllis Lynn, former curator of the art collection of Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company describes the effect of fiber, “Fiber humanizes modern architecture…It softens all the hard edges and makes an atmosphere cozy.” The tapestries in Fondren Library do just that: they create a welcoming environment for students and visitors, making a normally bare, institutional space feel like a warm gathering space. The tapestries are also significant in that they may act as an introduction to modern 20th-century artists. Rather than existing in a gallery space, the tapestries hang in a common area where people converse, study, and move through. They do not need to go out of their way to view artwork; rather they may live with it, incorporating artwork into their everyday experience.
Thirteen of the Modern Masters tapestries originally found their way to SMU as a donation in the 1970s to the SMU and were installed in DeGolyer Library. Recently, the tapestries were stored during the renovation of Fondren Library. Faced with either disposing of the tapestries or finding new homes, Russell Martin, Director of the DeGolyer Library, shared pictures of the tapestries to then Interim Director of Fondren Library, Jolene de Verges. She contacted the Collections Manager at the Meadows Museum, Anne Lenhart, and together they found new spaces in Fondren to install them. Thus, the Collaborative Commons and other areas in Fondren are the newly enriched home to these tapestries.

After Joan Miró, "Circus", 1970s Wall-hanging tapestry,Wool Modern Masters Tapestries
After Joan Miró, “Circus”, 1970s Wall-hanging tapestry,Wool Modern Masters Tapestries 78 1/2 × 59 in; 199.4 × 149.9 cm

 

North view of some Modern Masters Tapestries
North view of some Modern Masters Tapestries

FURTHER READING

Grant, Daniel. A Good Yarn: Artists’ Tapestries Are Popping Up in Museums, but They’re Not Yet Woven Into the Market. August 20, 2013.

Katz, Ruth. The Swiftly Growing Field of Tapestries and Fiber Arts. 1981. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/02/05/garden/the-swiftly-growing-field-of-tapestries-and-the-fiber-arts.html.
The Unicorn Tapestries

Why Archives? SMU Archivist, Joan Gosnell Explains

We recently chatted with SMU Libraries’ own Joan Gosnell, SMU Archivist. With the upcoming presentations of the Black History at SMU Student Oral History Projects, we wanted to ask Joan some questions about “The Archives.” Joan was a big part in helping Dr. Jill Kelly’s students find their way through the archives to complete their projects. 

Joan Gosnell, SMU Archivist
Joan Gosnell, SMU Archivist

Continue reading “Why Archives? SMU Archivist, Joan Gosnell Explains”

Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall Opens

Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall
Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall

 

William Jennings Bryan Campaign Poster
Liberty, Justice, Humanity, campaign poster, 1900 From the Hervey A. Priddy Collection of American Presidential and Political Memorabilia

Come visit the new Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall! This premier exhibition space for SMU’s DeGolyer Library Special Collections, is a modern, spacious venue that is currently housing its inaugural exhibition, “Books, Buildings and Benefactors.” The exhibition highlights signature items in the library collections, including rare books, manuscripts, photographs, prints and ephemera. Political items, such as a 1900 William Jennings Bryan presidential campaign poster, first edition books by William Faulkner and J.D. Salinger as well as historic SMU photos are included in the exhibit.

Inaugural Exhibit: Books, Buildings and Benefactors

Location: Hillcrest Foundation Exhibit Hall, Fondren Library Center


Exhibition Preview

Catcher in the Rye, First EditionJ.D. Salinger
The Catcher the Rye
Boston : Little, Brown, 1951.

From the Stanley Marcus Collection, DeGolyer Library.


Dallas Hall

Dallas Hall, Southern Methodist University, 1921

SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library.


William Faulkner, First Edition

William Faulkner
Miss Zilphia Gant
Dallas, Texas: The Book Club of Texas, 1932.

From the Stanley Marcus Collection, DeGolyer Library.


Peruna Advertisement

Peruna CuresWinter Catarrh, c.1900

SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library.


Allen Ginsberg - Howl

Allen Ginsberg
Howl, and Other Poems
San Francisco: City Lights Pocket Books, 1956.

Part of the Colophon Collection of Moderns, DeGolyer Library.


Fondren Groundbreaking

Fondren Library Groundbreaking, 1940
Mrs. And Mrs. W. W. Fondren, President Selecman, and others

SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library.

Research Workshops this September

Research Workshops graphic

Get an introduction to research at Fondren Library Center! Workshops are free and open to current SMU students. See all upcoming workshops.

September workshops

Managing Citations

Managing Citations

Learn the essentials of using a citation manager, such as EndNote Basic or Refworks Flow.
Rebecca Graff, Research Librarian

Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Time: 5:15 pm – 5:45 pm
Location: Fondren Library East, Room 323

More information


Preventing Plagiarism

Preventing Plagiarism

An overview of what is plagiarism and how to avoid it.
Presented by Hollie Gardner, User Experience Librarian
RSVP required.

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2015
Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: Fondren Library East, Room 323

More information


Historical Newspapers

Historical Newspapers

Learn how to find primary sources through SMU’s historical newspaper databases.
Presented by James Kessenides, Scholarly Communication and Humanities Research Librarian

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2015
Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: Fondren Library East, Room 323

More information


Chicago Manual of Style Made Easy

Chicago Manual of Style Made Easy

An overview of citation formatting and bibliography creation using the Chicago Manual of Style.
Hosted by Beverly Mitchell, Art and Dance Librarian and Pam Pagels, Music Librarian

Date: Monday, September 28, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Location: Hamon Arts Library, Room 3210

More information


Chicago Manual of Style Made Easy

Chicago Manual of Style Made Easy

An overview of citation formatting and bibliography creation using the Chicago Manual of Style.
Hosted by Beverly Mitchell, Art and Dance Librarian and Pam Pagels, Music Librarian

Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Time: 11:00 am – 11:30 am
Location: Hamon Arts Library, Room 3210

More information

View all upcoming workshops

Lecture and Book Signing with C.W. Smith, May 28

C.W. Smith - A Throttled PeacockIn A Throttled Peacock: Observations on the Old World, self-styled boulevardier and novelist C.W. Smith takes a droll and ironic look at the antics of Europeans at home and Americans abroad in this off-beat memoir that gently mocks both traveler and host. With an underlying theme of misperception and the surprise of upended expectations, these essays form a singular vision that entertains even as they slyly instruct.

Date: Thursday, May 28, 2015
Time:  6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. lecture and book signing
Location: DeGolyer Library

This event is free and open to the public.  Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.


C.W. Smith has written numerous novels, a collection of short stories, and a memoir. He was a Dedman Family Distinguished Professor at Southern Methodist University. He lives in Dallas with his wife, Marcia.

Technology in the Archives–and at the Academy Awards

 Fondren Library Center Lobby
On display through February 25, 2015

WeDr. Larry Hornbeck could not imagine our daily life without technology staples such as calculators, computers, high definition televisions, smartphones and many othDigital projector using the DMDer devices. Much of this modern technology started in the research labs at Texas Instruments with ideas and inventions leading to patents. DeGolyer Library holds the Texas Instruments archival records, which are rich in engineering papers and articles, correspondence, research notes, user manuals, photographs, and artifacts. One example is the Digital Micromirror Device (DMD), an optical semiconductor invented by TI fellow Dr. Larry Hornbeck in 1987. Texas Instruments developed Hornbeck’s invention into the Digital Light Processing technology, which today has a wide array of applications in medical imaging, communications, security and the entertainment industry, among others. The invention has earned TI recognition from the entertainment industry, such as an Emmy for digital projection technology in 1998. This month, Dr. Larry Hornbeck will receive the Academy Award of Merit for his contribution to the cinema projection technology.

Digital Micromirror Device DMD)

Pictured here is one of the first three DMDs manufactured for commercial use in 1991. The device is mounted on a PC board carrier, which has contact pads for 248 connections to the DMD. The device package has a heavy glass cover and a thick metal bottom; it uses a square mirror with torsion fibers on diagonal corners driven by a signal to a DRAM cell. The device is part of the Texas Instruments artifact collection held by the DeGolyer Library.

An exhibit case highlighting Dr. Larry Hornbeck and the DMD is now on display in the Fondren Library Center Lobby.


Contributed by Ada Negraru, DeGolyer Library Archival Assistant

New DeGolyer Exhibit: George W. Cook Texas/Dallas Images

Oak Cliff Postcard: George Cook Image Collection

New Exhibit at DeGolyer Library

First Impressions: The George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection

Dates: January 30 – May 15, 2015
Times: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: DeGolyer Library

About the exhibit

Pegasus atop the Magnolia BuildingThe George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection is an important addition to the DeGolyer Library and is a wonderful resource for research in Dallas and Texas history. A native Dallasite, George W. Cook (1949-2012) was a life-long collector, with a focus on Dallas and Texas primary sources. He had a special interest in photographs, postcards, advertising souvenirs, trade cards, badges, family collections, documents, art, postal history, and three-dimensional objects such as signs, regional porcelain and glass, and architectural ornaments. He was also fascinated by the State Fair of Texas, the 1936 Texas Centennial, and the history of aviation.

The strength of Cook’s collection lies in its visual images (over 2,200 photographs and 12,000 postcards), but there are also significant manuscripts, diaries, albums, banknotes, ephemera, books, pamphlets, broadsides and objects related to the city of Dallas and Texas. Chronologically, the collection ranges from a promissory note signed by Davy Crockett in Tennessee in 1829 to photographs of carhops at Sivil’s drive-in in mid-century Dallas. There are approximately 20,000 items altogether – a rich collection with a wide range of materials related to Dallas and Texas history!

Free and open to the public.

Selected items from the Cook Collection are being digitized. See more.

Examples from the Collection

Five People in a Touring Car Prop with 1915 State Fair of Texas in Dallas Banner
Greetings from Dallas, TexasView of Exall Lake, Dallas, TexasDallas, Texas

 Dallas Sky Line, January 1st, 1914


See more

Defined by Light: Exhibit opens at DeGolyer Library

Defined By Light: Photography’s First 75 Years.

Images and Objects from the Collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus in Celebration of the 175th Anniversary of the Announcement of Photography

 

Location: DeGolyer Library
Dates: October 23 – December 19, 2014
Times: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Defined by Light: example from the exhibitAbout the exhibit: Jack and Beverly Wilgus have an exceptional collection of images and objects related to the history of photography. The latest DeGolyer exhibit begins with materials from before the invention of photography with the camera obscura and ends in the 20th century. Photographs of various subjects and processes will be displayed: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, stereographs, cameras, viewers, early color work and more.

Exhibition Catalogue: Defined by Light: Photography’s First 75 Years by Jack and Beverly Wilgus

Exhibit Opening and Reception: Defined by Light, Oct. 23

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Exhibition Opening: Defined By Light: Photography’s First 75 Years

Defined By Light: The Wilgus Collection at DeGolyer Library

Images and objects from the collection of Jack and Beverly Wilgus in celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Announcement of Photography 6 p.m. Reception, Texana Room

6:30 p.m. Remarks by Jack and Beverly Wilgus and curator Anne E. Peterson, Stanley Marcus Reading Room

Location: DeGolyer Library, SMU Campus (View campus and parking maps)

RSVP: 214-768-3637 or degolyer@smu.edu

Jack and Beverly Wilgus have an exceptional collection of images and objects related to the history of photography. The latest DeGolyer exhibit begins with materials from before the invention of photography with the camera obscura and ends in the 20th century. Photographs of various subjects and processes will be displayed: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, stereographs, cameras, viewers, early color work and more. There will be a book signing and copies of a new book by Jack and Beverly Wilgus, Defined by Light: Photography’s First 75 Years available for purchase.


Love Your Library

This program is sponsored by DeGolyer Library and the Friends of the SMU Libraries

Join the Friends!  Learn more.

Year of the Faculty Exhibit at Fondren

The Not So Secret Life of the Faculty

Fondren Library Center Lobby

October 1 – December 31, 2014

facultyProfessors teach classes— everyone knows this—but how do they spend their time outside of that MWF 8:00am seminar? Get a glimpse into the roles of Southern Methodist University professors as mentors, writers, researchers, donors, administrators, and more through this exhibition of faculty letters, manuscripts, photographs, memorabilia, publications, and artifacts from the SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library.

This exhibit is hosted in honor of SMU’s Year of the Faculty.