Thursday, July 4, 2013

Minimalism in Floral Abstractions

The traditional abstraction indicating a floral.

Minimalism in the 1940s

The flower can be abstracted further
and we still read it as a flower
In this quilt from the 1930s or '40s
the flower is abstracted and minimalized to two squares.

It seems to be a variation of this Hollyhock Wreath
from Coats & Clark in the 1940s.

Two circles---you know it's a flower and not a donut.

Here's an older simple floral---although we might see it as a fruit,
a pomegranate or love apple.
It's probably late 19th-century.
Even more abstract, but again is it a fruit or a flower?
The fancy border is a minor clue to mid-19th century.

We see a lot more of these abstracted florals in vintage prints than we do in vintage quilts.

"Riva" Fabric design by Josef Hoffmann
for the Wiener Werkstatte.
Hoffman's floral with 3 circles is an early modern print from about 1910

I went through my box of 1930s, 40's and 50's prints and found quite a few inspired by that print, pictured in Angela Volkers's book Textiles of the Wiener Werkstatte.

Hoffman's print was done a good twenty years before
this flower became a standard ditsy print.

Design evolved from avant-garde to run-of-the-mill
when feedsacks began following modernist principles.


  1. Good food for thought. Thanks and Happy Fourth!

  2. "Run-of-the-mill" for "feedsacks". Nice pun.

  3. Love those last 4 prints. Amazing what the eye will "see".