April 6–July 27, 2014

Quilts and Color

The Pilgrim/Roy Collection

A visual treat and an abundance of eye-popping color: celebrate the beauty and vibrancy of American quilts from the Pilgrim/Roy Collection

"You will not see a more beautiful show anywhere in New England. What a bliss-out."—The Boston Globe

“Quilts and Color” celebrates the vibrant color palette and inventive design seen in the acclaimed Pilgrim/Roy Quilt Collection. The exhibition features nearly 60 distinctive quilts from the renowned collection and is the first to explore how, over five decades, trained artists Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy searched out and collected quilts with bold, eye-popping designs that echoed the work of mid-20th century Abstract Expressionist and Op Artists.

The exhibition opens with the vividly colored quilts that first drew the collectors’ attention and began their life-long passion. Exploring sophisticated principles of color theory, the exhibition’s opening sections display color vibrations, mixtures, gradations, and harmonies in the design of the quilts ranging from the 19th to early 20th century. As their collection grew, Pilgrim and Roy turned their interest to the history of quilting and added more traditional designs. Many of these incorporated the color white to create high contrast. The exhibition’s sections—“Variations” and “Optical Illusions”—examine the effect of color and pattern, highlighting dramatic color choices and innovative effects created within established quilt patterns. The exhibition concludes with a final nod to the artistic vision of quilt makers and highlights artists who worked outside of standard patterns and design.

Above: Double Wedding Ring Quilt, about 1940. Pieced cotton plain weave top, cotton plain weave back and binding; quilted. Pilgrim/Roy Collection.

  • Ann and Graham Gund Gallery (Gallery LG31)