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The history of 20th century art is explored through textile, with rare examples from the Fauvism, Cubism, Constructivism, Abstraction and Surrealism movements.

Fauvist painter Raoul Dufy was one of the first in his generation to successfully produce textile designs. A pioneer of what would become a phenomenally successful trend, his work inspired many other artists and textile companies in Britain, Southern Europe and America.

After the war the movement to create 'a masterpiece in every home' gained momentum with the involvement of a host of leading contemporary artists, such as John Piper, Salvador Dalí, Ben Nicholson and Steinberg. Eventually, these art textiles were turned into clothing, offering consumers the chance to buy themselves a Joan Miró dress or a Salvador Dalí tie.

By the 1960s, Picasso was allowing his pictures to be printed on almost any fabric, apart from upholstery. The sofa was a line he wouldn't cross, as the curators note: 'Picassos may be leaned against, not sat on'.

On display are around 200 textile designs, including recently discovered works by Dufy, Dali, Miró and Picasso. Together they provide a revealing insight into how ordinary people were able to engage with high modern art in an intimate and personal way.


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