At Winterthur -
This comprehensive exhibition explores the unique world of the Pennsylvania Germans and their colorful folk art, including decorated manuscripts (fraktur), textiles, furniture, metalwork, and pottery. Embellished with hearts, flowers, birds, and other traditional motifs, these objects reveal a love of color, design, and whimsy. Most are functional, but others were made “just for nice” and attest to the Pennsylvania Germans’ penchant for decorating virtually everything—from a tiny pincushion to the side of a barn.
A Colorful Folk sheds new light on Pennsylvania German folk art and presents more than 125 objects—many never before exhibited or published. Highlights include rare and important examples of fraktur, ranging from elaborate birth and baptismal certificates (made primarily by members of the German Lutheran and Reformed faiths) to an extraordinary religious text made by Mennonite schoolmaster Andreas Kolb. A painted chest decorated in 1783 by fraktur artist Henrich Otto with floral motifs and a pair of camels will also be displayed. Textiles are also prominently featured, including dazzling examples of needlework, quilted objects, and clothing such as an embroidered wedding handkerchief and apron from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The tools and techniques used by fraktur artists will also be explored in addition to issues of authenticity, forgery, and revivals.