Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grau-Garriga: A Great Inspiration

Catalog Cover Detail

I my last post I wrote about some of the work I did as a graduate student and presented an image of a weaving from my student days. While a student I found a catalog of the Spanish artist, Josep Grau-Garriga and was enthralled by the power of his work. I have held on to that catalog all these years and continue to enjoy reading it and studying the work.

Evocacio Oriental, 1967

The work is heavy with yarn, texture and color. You can both see and feel the artists' hands in the work. Despite the low-relief nature of the work, there are layers of interesting crevices and shadows which invite you to come closer to see what you might be missing.

Ecumenisme, 1969

The work is of a period and can easily be dated as being made in 1960's or 1970's but it was ground breaking in it's time. Like many artists whose work is copied and whose work becomes the starting point for other artists, people may not understand how new and fresh this work was when it was made. He, along with Magdalene Abakanowicz and Jagoda Buic (unable to find a suitable link) are credited with bringing tapestry weaving from the renaissance to a revolution and the 20th Century.

Title Unknown

This deatil shows the use of the slit which is a natural
part of the tapesty weaving technique.

Philippe de Montebello wrote the introduction for this catalog. He was the director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston Texas at the time. He says: "Tapestry is not merely craft. "Craft" is involved only sofar as it is the vehicle for the expression of his (Grau-Garriga) creative genius, his boldest ideas, and vision. It is drama, color, the heroic and mystical voice of Catalonia, which triumph in these substantial weighty, hangings of wool and hemp and metal."

Love Stories, 1971
collage, paint

The catalog I have was produced in 1971 by the Arras Gallery in New York City and presents not only the tapestries of this productive artist, but his paintings and collages. I love to see how an artists' vision translates from one medium to another. Here you can see that there is a tight relationship between the images and compositions through all of Grau-Garrigas work.

Negacio, 1969

Who has influenced you? Whose work has held your interest? How has it impacted you and your work? Some work grabs you and just won't let go. Other work is a passing fancy. Can you identify work that falls into these two groups?

Title Unknown
collage, paint

You can see more of Grau-Garriga's work at RoGallery. Born in 1929, he is now in his early 80's. I believe he lives in France but I do not know if he is still working.

**October 29, 2012 - Esther Garu (Grau-Garriga's daughter) just notified me that her father passed away August 29, 2011 while residing in France.  He was a true talent and will continue to be an inspiration to artists all around the world.

Thank you for visiting Studio 24-7. I love hearing from you so Remember:

Commenting is FREE!


  1. The weavings caught my eye right away as they reminded of my studies at UBC. I was so lucky to be in Joanna Staniszkis class. I still have hanging on my wall, one of the first weavings that I did in her class. She was such an influence in developing my love of fibers and design. Joanna is still very active in textile art

  2. Gina, Thank you for the link to Joanna Staniszkis. Her work is fabulous and she is new to me. I appreciate your sharing this with me and my readers.

  3. The look of these is immediately recognizable to me from that era. As a lover of all textiles, I have been inspired by kuba cloths so much; I love the workmanship and the graphic quality. As I discovered when researching my book, the postwar midwest produced and nurtured many great early weavers, our Fiber Artist ancestors. I was fortunate to be able to purchase an early work by the late Evelyn Svec Ward a few years ago at an auction. It would fit right in with the ones you show here.

  4. Thank you Gayle for sharing your thoughts and the name of Evelyn Svec Ward. I do not know this artist but I will be looking her up! Yes, the look of this work is of an era.

  5. Dear Terry,
    thank you for all your comments about Grau-Garriga's work. I think you really understood it.
    For your information, I must tell you that unfortunately Grau-Garriga died last year in France (29, August, 2011).

    Esther Grau (Grau-Garriga's daughter)