She didn’t just collect paintings by Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. She also befriended and even persuaded them, as well as Le Corbusier and Fernand Léger, into working in a different medium: tapestry. “Marie Cuttoli: The Modern Thread from Miró to Man Ray,” at the Barnes Foundation, explores the trajectory of Cuttoli’s entrepreneurial spirit in relation to the revival of the French tapestry industry.
Cuttoli was born in 1879 in France but moved to Algeria, and was originally interested in restoring the African country’s carpet production, teaching the trade to local women and selling their works to haute couture houses abroad. But with residences in Philippeville and Paris, she was also drawn to modernism and the Aubusson tapestry world. In 1931, she commissioned tapestries from her avant-garde artist friends and eventually went on to partner with Parisian galleries to sell them. For the exhibition, the Barnes has amassed some 40 large-scale tapestries and paintings, drawings, photographs, and archival material by those artists.