FRAME|WORK: An Extraordinary Kilim from the Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Collection

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature a monumental kilim that will be featured prominently in the upcoming exhibition The Art of the Anatolian Kilim: Highlights from the McCoy Jones Collection, which opens September 10.

Kilim, 17th century. Turkey, Anatolia, Aegean region, Usak Province. Wool; slit-tapestry weave. 383.5 x 182.9 cm (151 x 72 in.). The Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Collection, gift of Caroline McCoy-Jones. 2003.87.4

This kilim (a flat slit-tapestry) represents the apex of the Anatolian kilim tradition and is one of the most impressive pieces in the textile collection. Its monumental scale serves as the perfect backdrop on which to display the impeccable color palette, which showcases the depth and tonality of each color, both singularly and as it relates to adjacent colors. The sophisticated juxtaposition of these color combinations creates chromatic harmonies that stand in contrast to the relative simplicity of the woven pattern. This banded kilim is a true masterpiece.

Donated to the Museums in the early 1980s, the Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Collection fortified the foundation of the Museums’ textile arts collection and brought to it a particular strength in non-Western textiles. H. McCoy Jones began collecting textiles as a naval officer in Istanbul shortly after World War I. One of his duties during this period was to escort international visitors on shopping expeditions through the city’s famous bazaars. McCoy Jones soon realized that his meager knowledge of rugs would need improving, especially since he would be the one held responsible if any of his visitors were swindled!

Introduced to the world of rug collecting by her husband, Caroline McCoy-Jones developed a keen eye in her own right. After McCoy’s death in 1987, she continued her husband’s passion and gave many significant textiles to the Museums, the most important of which was unquestionably her remarkable collection of kilims.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to view an exquisite kilim from one of the Museums’ most important collections. The Art of the Anatolian Kilim: Highlights from the McCoy Jones Collection will be on view at the de Young from September 10, 2011, to June 10, 2012.

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