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 Claire Block Zeisler  (1903 - 1991)

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Lived/Active: Illinois      Known for: three dimensional knotted and wrapped fiber art, weaving, art collector

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Claire Zeisler (April 18, 1903 - September 30, 1991) was a noted American fiber artist who expanded the expressive qualities of knotted and braided threads.

Claire Block was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, attended Columbia College in Chicago for one year, then in 1921 married Harold Florsheim (an heir to Florsheim Shoe). In the 1930s she bought works by Paul Klee, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, and Picasso, and as well as tribal objects including African sculptures, tantric art, ancient Peruvian textiles and more than 300 American Indian baskets. After her divorce in 1943, she married Ernest Zeisler, a physician and author, in 1946.

Zeisler studied at the Chicago Institute of Design (formerly New Bauhaus) in the 1940s with Eugene Dana and the Illinois Institute of Technology where she was taught by the Russian avant-garde sculptor Alexander Archipenko and the Chicago weaver Bea Swartchild. In the 1950s she created flat weavings using a traditional loom, but by 1962 she began making freestanding, three-dimensional fiber sculptures using a variety of techniques.

Zeisler's work was presented in retrospective exhibits in the Art Institute of Chicago (1979) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1985).

Source:
"Claire Zeisler", Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claire_Zeisler (Accessed 3/12/2014)


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is The New York Times obituary of the artist, written by Roberta Smith and published October 1, 1991.

Claire Zeisler, an artist and art collector who helped transform the two-dimensional craft of weaving into the three-dimensional medium called fiber art, died yesterday at her home in Chicago. She was 88 years old.

She died of heart failure, said her daughter, Joan Binkley of Lake Bluff, Ill.

Mrs. Zeisler, whose maiden name was Block, was born in Cincinnati on April 18, 1903, and showed a strong interest in art from childhood. In 1921 she married Harold Florsheim, an heir to the Florsheim Shoe Company, and moved to Chicago.

For a while, her interest in art was manifested in a collection that became well known for its broad range and exquisite taste. In the 1930's, she acquired paintings by European modernists including Picasso, Miro and Klee, as well as objects from many tribal cultures, among them African sculptures, tantric art, ancient Peruvian textiles and more than 300 American Indian baskets. Later, she added works by prominent postwar American artists, from Franz Kline and Robert Rauschenberg to Jenny Holzer.


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