Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Sewing, Needlework and Other Textiles in Art


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Before I realized I really wouldn’t have much wall space in the “studio,” I started collecting images of art that was textile or needleart-related, with the intention of finding a framable print or two for the walls in my project room. While organizing some of the image files (I have over 60,000 pictures on my computer – it’s time to weed some out!), I came across this folder full of collected art images. “Why not share them?” I thought. So here are just a few, grouped by artist…

Here are three artists whose paintings feature textiles or needlework in some way. I especially like faces and feet in art (yes, feet – I don’t know why, but I always look at feet in art, when feet are available…)

First up is Bouguereau, 19th century French painter.

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

This is a portrait of Leonie Bouguereau, and I suspect that’s needlework of some sort, although she could have just finished drying a lot of dishes. In any case, despite what she’s been doing, she isn’t getting much done at the moment.

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

This is probably Bouguereau’s most famous little sewing girl, and I actually do have her matted and framed. I suspect she’s sitting on a doorstep, working a little sampler, and people watching. I think she’s sweet. And – yes, check out her feet. Barefoot and stitching – what a great combination.

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

This is Bouguereau’s Spinner. There’s nothing quite like standing outside the front door with your drop-spindle, trying to look busy. I like the color in this one.

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

Another Bouguereau… I don’t know the proper name of this one, but I call it Mending a Sock. She probably isn’t mending a sock, but considering she’s barefoot and the thing on her lap looks like a sock, she might as well be darning it. And besides, I suspect her feet are cold. She’s wrapped up, anyway. She’s got a sweet little face, but golly, is she bored? Or wistful?

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

This is Bouguereau’s Knitting Girl.

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

No, I admit she isn’t doing needlework. But I’m pretty sure she’s drawing her next needlework sampler. And she’s being rather ornery about it, too. Actually, this is my favorite Bouguereau. Her expression cracks me up.

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

This is the goldworker (the Gold Embroideress) by Vasily Tropinin, a Russian artist of the late 1700-early 1800’s. I would like to find this in a print and have it framed. I like it a lot! I’d like to be able to see more of her workspace!

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

Tropinin also has a very nice lace-maker…

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

… and a spinner. But I like his goldworker best.

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

Mary Cassatt was an American artist at the end of the 1800’s – beginning of the 1900’s. Mostly in her day, women studied art as something to “dabble” in, in order to be considered “accomplished.” This wasn’t Mary’s plan – she really wanted to be an artist.

Sewing, Needlework, and Other Textiles in Art

Though these are not her most famous paintings, I like them both – especially the first one, with the child at the mother’s knee.

And there you have it – three well-known artists who included the needlearts in their own artwork. There are HEAPS more, though! It’s really surprising, once you start looking around, how many famous artists painted subjects busy with needlework of some sort.

[Image Source Information: Unfortunately, these have been collected over quite a long period of time, and I didn’t always note the sources, but I believe them all to be copyright-free images. Some are from Wikipedia, I suppose…]



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(8) Comments

  1. I used posters and sticky-tack to decorate closet doors in college. The same might work for your room – it won't support anything framed, but if the picture's a good quality print job and hung straight, it doesn't look shabby. Plus it lends itself to rearranging and using lots of small prints. 🙂

    Okay, time to go transfer the pattern for the long-and-short stitch project…

  2. I think Bouguereau used the same girl in the Knitting Girl and your mending sock just a different ages – artists often revisited models. She might have even been the daughter of someone he knew. What do you think? Mary Cassatt is one of my favorites – her favorite subjests were mothers with their children. Got to love the Impressionists!
    karen hilinski

  3. Thank you for sharing your some of your favorites, Mary. I've seen several of them but a couple are new to me.

    Some years ago I passed up a fairly inexpensive print of a woman sitting in a chair beside a window, sewing. I liked it so much but just didn't get it. It wasn't there the next time I returned to that store and I have kicked myself ever since. One of these days I will have a proper sewing area (room? — dream on!) and would have loved it for the wall.

  4. Mary, thanks a lot for sharing these – they're all new to me! How about uploading your collection to Picasa or something like that so we can check them all? 🙂

  5. Thanks so much for sharing these paintings. I've been meaning to hunt up some for the fun of it but had not taken the time. Then I wanted to find another picture for my profile. I just love the second one and since there's no copyrights I'm gonna' give it a go for a while.
    Thanks again.

  6. Thanks for sharing the pictures! They're wonderful!

    And you're just fine with the copyright laws. A court case (can't remember the specifics; I'd have to re-research it) determined that a faithful representation of 2-dimensional art is copyright-free, although this is in dispute by the museums who hold the works and hope to gain financial renumeration by selling reproductions and permissions.

    Now if it were photo of a sculpture, where the photographer's artistry determines how the sculpture is presented, then that photographer could claim copyright protection.

    Hope that empowers you to post more! 😀 Thanks again!

  7. Lovely images! I especially like the little barefoot girl (the one you own)…she has such a beautiful expression on her face.

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