Archie Brennan has been a leading international figure in tapestry for more than 25 years. You’ll find his work in major art museums around the world, and he has taught and lectured at universities and art schools since 1962. Brennan joined his fellow artisans in 1948, as an apprentice. During his prolific career, he has woven more than 500 tapestries.
To celebrate his 85th birthday, Brennan’s work is being honored soon with a retrospective exhibition of his work in his native Edinburgh, Scotland. For now, though, visit our Museum to see Monsieur Bonnard’s Grand Daughter as part of our Contemporary International Tapestry exhibition.
“This ‘Bonnard’ tapestry was so called because the woven ‘frame’ was a frame Pierre Bonnard used for many of his paintings,” he said. “I wove this tapestry in Paris in 2001 when Susan (Martin Maffei) and I spent some months there and saw a particular Bonnard exhibition. The ‘Grand Daughter’ is in fact based on a drawing of mine made in Hawaii around 1990.
Why the ‘erased’ facial features in the tapestry?
“It was simply that when I made the drawing I struggled with and then erased the features. I used this when I wove the tapestry, so that the female was anonymous and simplified. Such a decision is because the only person I seek to satisfy in my work is me,” Brennan said.
Carol K. Russell, exhibition curator of Contemporary International Tapestry, noted that Brennan and his work is a gift for everyone who appreciates art created on the loom.
“He’s great fun and a grand master, and a gift to us all,” Russell said.