Trude Guermonprez

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Trude Guermonprez
Trude Guermonprez - Archives of American Art.jpeg
In a photograph taken by her late husband, photographer Paul Guermonprez, in 1938
Born(1910-11-09)9 November 1910
Danzig, Germany
Died8 May 1976(1976-05-08) (aged 65)
San Francisco, California
NationalityAmerican, born Germany
EducationMunicipal School of Arts and Crafts
Known forWeaving
Spouse(s)Paul Guermonprez
John Elsesser

Trude Guermonprez (9 November 1910–8 May 1976[1], born Gertrud Jalowetz, was a German born American textile artist and designer known for her tapestry landscapes.[2] Her Bauhaus-influenced disciplined abstraction for hand woven textiles greatly contributed to the American craft and fiber art movements of the 1950s, 60s and even into the 70s, particularly during her tenure at the California College of Arts and Crafts.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Trude Guermonprez was born in Danzig (modern Gdańsk). Her parents were Austrian and were active in the arts.[4] She took on weaving while living in Halle, Germany, where she attended the Municipal School of Arts and Crafts. She was married to a photographer and former student of the Bauhaus, Paul Guermonprez, who died in 1944 while fighting in the Dutch resistance. Guermonprez worked in the Netherlands and then, after six years, relocated to the United States, with the support of Anni Albers.[3]

In 1947, Guermonprez began teaching weaving and design at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina while Anni Albers was away on sabbatical, and to be with her mother Johanna Jalowetz and sister Lisa Aronson, who were also at the school.[5] Upon Anni's return, Guermonprez was asked to continue as a full-time faculty member. She remained at Black Mountain College until the dissolution of the weaving program in 1949.[6]

After leaving Black Mountain college, Guermonprez joined the Pond Farm artist collective run by Bauhaus-trained ceramicist Marguerite Wildenhain in Guerneville, California,[7] and taught at the Pond Farm Workshops. She remarried, marrying John Elsesser. The couple moved to San Francisco.


Trude Jalowetz in Amsterdam (1937)

Guermonprez combined the painterly possibilities of silkscreen with the structural geometry implicit in warp and weft to create fiber wall hangings that are both texturally rich and delicately drawn.[2]

Throughout her career, the majority of her work was private commission.[3]

Selected exhibitions[edit]

Awards and fellowships[edit]

Among the honors which Trude Guermonprez has earned are:

Craftsmanship Medal of the American Institute of Architects (1970)[1]

Guermonprez died on 8 May 1976 in San Francisco.[1]


Guermonprez started her teaching career at Black Mountain College. She worked at Oakland College and at the San Francisco Art Institute.[9] In 1954 Guermonprez joined the faculty of California College of Arts and Crafts.[9] She served as chair of the crafts department, at the California College of Arts and Crafts, overseeing: metal arts, ceramics, glass blowing, stitchery and textile printing, as well as supervising the weaving curriculum.[9]

Her students included Kay Sekimachi Stocksdale, Ann Wilson, and Jane Lackey, among others.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Trude Guermonprez". New York Times. 11 May 1976. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b Hall, Julie (1977). Tradition and Change: the New American Craftsman. New York: E.P. Dutton. p. 69. ISBN 0525221956.
  3. ^ a b c d "Trude Guermonprez". Collection. Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Guide to the Papers of Trude Guermonprez, 1947–1976". Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  5. ^ Thomson, Julie J. (2017). Begin to see : the photographers of Black Mountain College. Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Asheville, NC. p. 82. ISBN 9781532325724. OCLC 973560357.
  6. ^ "Trude Guermonprez | Biography | People | Collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum". Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Marguerite Wildenhain". Luther College. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  8. ^ Guermonprez, Trude, 1910–1976.
  9. ^ a b c Freedman, Marlene (25 January 1970). "Artist Honored for 'Expressive Weaving'" (Sunday). Oakland Tribune.

Further reading[edit]