Diamonds and Bars. Die Kunst der Amischen / The Art of the Amish People

Quilts aus der Sammlung Schlumberger / The Schlumberger

Cover of the publication »Diamonds and Bars. Die Kunst der Amischen / The Art of the Amish People«

Type of publication
Exhibition catalog
Author / Editor
Florian Hufnagl (Ed.)
Publishing house, place
Arnoldsche, Stuttgart
Abstraction and colour: Those are the buzzwords designating the salient charactistics of Amish quilts, which remind anyone looking at them of modern painting, be it Josef Albers, Barnett Newman or Frank Stella.

Diamonds and bars – lozenges, squares, elongated rectangles … fiery red, vivid green, smoky blue, purple … With their stringent geometry, broad colour fields and astringent composition, Amish quilts are startlingly close to Concrete Art, Hard-Edge painting and Minimalism. However, the modern appearance of these patchwork quilts stemmed from the design intention of an 18th-century Anabaptist Christian denomination that has chosen to live without benefit of modern technology in relative isolation. Although the Amish quilts in the collection date from the reign of Queen Victoria and the Jugendstil/Art Nouveau and Art Déco periods, they represent the diametric opposite of synchronous European-inspired American art yet prefigure the design principles of Modernism. Europeans began to discover Amish quilts in the 1960s when Minimal art and Concrete art were in their heyday. Maria Schlumberger – inspired by the high-profile »FER Collection« amassed by her partner Friedrich E. Rentschler – has consistently and with a passionate commitment to quality built up one of the best Amish quilt collections worldwide in the space of the past fifteen years.

These Amish quilts dating from the Victorian era, from the Jugendstil and Art Déco periods are astonishing for their stringent geometry, large colour fields and astringent compositions. They are strikingly close to Concrete Art, Hard-Edge painting and Minimal Art.
German and English
192 p. : ill.
Organization / Institution
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe

Pinakothek der Moderne | Design, München

About the editors