News & Archives


Exploring Quilts: Art, History, and Craftsmanship

03/17/2004 - 09/12/2004
Art Institute of Chicago, Elizabeth F. Cheney and Agnes Allerton Textile Galleries (G. 54-56)

«Quilts are records of history, not only style but events, people and lifestyles.»

The Art Institute of Chicago acquired a group of 21 splendid 19th- and 20th-century American quilts from Kentucky collector Shelly Zegart in the spring of 2002. This acquisition -- 14 gifts and seven purchases -- fills a major place in the museum's renowned textiles collection, not only enhancing the present collection of 155 such pieces, but decisively moving the Art Institute in to the front ranks of American museums with similar holdings.

Exploring Quilts: Art, History, and Craftsmanship featured more than 30 quilts, such as Celebrity Ties (1980-1982) by Mrs. Grace C. Wagner, a crazy quilt made with 44 pieces of neckties from well-known public figures, ranging from Johnny Carson to Kermit the Frog to former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson; Album of Inventors (1933), a piece that features a pictorial narrative of American history from the presidencies of Andrew Jackson to Franklin Roosevelt, and images of roads leading to the modern world as represented by the Sears Pavilion at the 1933 Century of Progress Chicago World's Fair; and Sunday School Picnic (1932) by Jennie C. Trein, an award-winning piece created to represent the quilter's admiration for her friends and family.  Besides the entire Zegart Collection, the exhibition included three quilts purchased from the Dr. and Mrs. Fred Epstein Collection with a Bequest from the Margaret Cavigga Trust; gifts from Margaret McCurry, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Power, Mr. and Mrs, Joseph W. Fell; and two crib quilts from an anonymous donor.

Organizer: Exploring Quilts: Art, History, and Craftsmanship is organized by The Art Institute of Chicago.

Curator: Christa C. Thurman, The Christa C. Mayer Thurman Curator of Textiles, The Art Institute of Chicago

On exhibit opening night, Shelly Zegart gave a lecture "American Quilts: A Patchwork of Meanings, Purposes and Origins."


Exhibit Installation Photos


To Start Previous   of   Next To End


Mrs. Zegart quilt gifts to the Art Institute of Chicago:

Share |