Coinciding with the New York Armory Show, the master craftsman gallery Atelier Courbet in Nolita, unveiled a limited edition series of artist rugs by modern masters and their design contemporaries on March 6. The exhibition is the result of a fresh collaboration between Melanie Courbet, the young gallery owner and curator, whose background in contemporary design and architecture compliments the rich artistic pedigree of Parisian patron, designer, and curator Sabine de Gunzburg. "The exhibition is really an exchange between me and Melanie, between the artist she has and the artists I have," de Gunzburg says.
A series of six rugs and modern tapestries hand-woven from 100-percent silk under the meticulous supervision of de Gunzburg are on exhibit and on sale at the gallery. The Artists' Rugs Collection includes signed woven-drawings by artists Francis Picabia and Serge Poliakoff as well as new woven paintings by Frank Gehry and Vladimir Kagan. The intricate work of Matthias Bitzer is also included; athe opening of his show later this month at Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York coincides with this exhibition.
De Gunzburg grew up in a Parisian family of antique and art collectors. Her mother, France Seligmann, ran a gallery and was a familiar face in the days of Gertrude Stein’s salons. She commissioned her contemporaries at the time—Fernand Leger, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, and Alexander Calder—to do a series of artists' rugs in wool, which was the material used predominantly at the time. Decades later, de Gunzburg picked up where her mother left off, this time catering to the modern demands of her clients. "I was working as an interior designer and my clients wanted rich silk carpets, but there was nothing in the market, so I started traveling to India." Soon she was commissioning rugs under her own label, S2G Design, working with talented artists such as Sam Szafran, Peter Peri, Mark Barrow, and Matthias Bitzer.
For this show, her first American exhibition, de Gunzburg drew from her family’s trove of art and connections, securing access from the estates of Picabia and Poliakoff to replicate their work. Courbet, who has long consulted in the design world for people such as architect Thom Mayne and designer Dror Benshetrit, selected Gehry and Kagan based on her personal relationships with the designers. "I liked that one was a designer and one was an architect," Courbet says. "I want there to be a shared creative language that can include fashion designers and photographers—it doesn’t have to be just artists."
This shared narrative is expressed beautifully against the dark canvas of the new Atelier Courbet space. The show will be on view through April 2014 at Atelier Courbet, 177 Mott Street, New York.
Alexandra Polier has been a communications consultant for artists, architects, designers, fabricators and philanthropists from New York to Nairobi. A writer by training, a networker by nature, she enjoys communicating the way design shapes every aspect of our lives.