Art & Art History
Angelo Testa: Designer/Painter/Weaver
Angelo Testa: Designer/Painter/Weaver was an exhibition surveying over 40 years of work by the American designer, painter, sculptor and weaver, Angelo Testa. Testa, the first graduate of László Moholy-Nagy ’s New Bauhaus in Chicago, sought to elevate everyday mass-produced objects into works of exceptional Modernist beauty using bold and simple geometric elements. In approaching his textiles, Testa employed his training as a painter in order to create works that were vibrant, abstract and minimal, with powerful lines and playfully interconnected forms. “Little Man” (1942), perhaps Testa ’s most famous fabric design, has become part of the Bauhaus archives in Germany. In the Gallery 400 exhibition, examples of Testa ’s textile designs, many of which are now housed in the collections of some of the largest textile manufacturers in the country, accompanied his paintings, rugs, fiber weavings, and architectural details. The Art Institute of Chicago holds many of Testa ’s works in its permanent collection, and at the time of the exhibition at Gallery 400 (prior to Testa ’s death in 1984), it named the designer as one of America ’s “Living Treasures.”
According to Testa,
“Whatever success I have enjoyed in my varied areas of work I totally owe to Moholy-Nagy ’s inspiration and to the Bauhaus philosophy. The Universal Truths that were revealed to me are as valid and vital today as they were over fifty years ago when they were conceived. Their catholic relationship to man and to his visual world have even a greater importance today than perhaps any other period in the history of man.”
A small catalogue accompanied the exhibition.
Work on paper
Dialogue 1, 1979
Dual Forces, 1952
Pen and ink drawing
Dual Forces # 2, 1980
Wallhanging, silkscreen on cloth
Homage to George Fred Keck – Architect, 1981
Philosophical Discource, 1979
Space Breakthrough, 1944
Pen and ink drawing
Space Dynamics #12, 1975
Woodcut Band Saw
Moser, Charlotte. “Fabric designers display integrity of their dyed-in-the-wool art form.” Sun Times, May 1, 1983, p 21.
Haydon, Harold. “Angelo Testa.” Sun Times, April 29, 1983, p 71.
Postcard: Angelo Testa: Designer/Painter/Weaver
Angelo Testa (born 1918 in Springfield, Massachusetts) was greatly interested in form and line, locating his own work within the milieu of the new minimal approach to architecture of the mid-twentieth century. In 1947 he set up Angelo Testa & Company, producing hand screen-printed and woven textiles for many architectural studios in Chicago. Heavily influenced by the principles of the Bauhaus, Testa approached his textile work as an abstract artist. He studied painting and sculpture at the Chicago Institute of Design during the 1940s.
Angelo Testa: 40 years as a designer/painter/weaver
Essays by Marianne Willisch and Angelo Testa
Kjellberg Inc., 1982
22 pp., 6 x 9 in., with black and white
and color reproductions
This catalogue can be purchased for $XX.00 plus shipping by calling Gallery 400 at 312 996 6114.
Angelo Testa: Designer/Painter/Weaver is supported by the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art and Design’s College of Architecture, Art and Urban Planning.
This exhibition is also funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. – test change