Boston Museum of Fine Arts Quilts and Color Exhibit

Yesterday I had the good fortune to visit another exhibit celebrating ways that fabric and thread can create works of art. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has been using “color” as its theme this year, and the exhibit “Quilts and Color” celebrates that concept.


When you walk into the spacious gallery with high ceilings, the individual quilts are hung and lit like overscale paintings. Quilts that first appear to be abstract art become marvels of precise stitching upon closer inspection.


The quilts displayed are from the collection of Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy. Here’s more information about the exhibit and the collectors from the MFA’s website:

(Quilts and Color Exhibit)

The quilts, which are primarily from the 1800s and early 20th century, are marvels of design, planning, stitch execution, and mostly likely teamwork among the makers. Not being a quilter, I can’t give technical details, but both my non-sewing friend and I were completely floored by the beauty and mastery displayed.









It’s impressive that these (mostly) women artistsans, who had so many other things to do in the pre-mechanized age, could take the time to design, plan, and create such labor-intensive works of art.

Looking at this exhibit, I was struck by the notion that what makes us human is less about how we’ve learned to use tools and weapons, and more about how we’re willing to take some additional time to make a useful item more beautiful. Any of us who have picked up a needle and thread for pleasure know that feeling.

The exhibit runs through July 27th. I highly recommend it.


12 thoughts on “Boston Museum of Fine Arts Quilts and Color Exhibit

  1. What great quilts!Thank you so much for telling about this exhibition.Even in the photos they look so beautiful and perfect and I assume, as mostly with textiles, the photos don’t do them justice and they are even more impressive in real life.
    Somehow this very detailed quiltmaking seems to be extinct nowadays. There are modern quilts with lots of work in them, of course. But I am laughed at when telling about my giant handsewn quilt made from thousands of tiny hexagons which is still in the making and seing these beauties my quilt becomes so very uninspired, naive and simple. Simply stunning to see how they played around with shades of colour and forms.

  2. I love quilts, though I’d never take the time to be one myself. I do appreciate the skill, and also the artistic vision of quiltmakers of the past. Some of these look as if they were designed in the modern world.

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