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    Description

    Bjorn Wiinbald (Danish 1918-2090)

    Arabian Nights (two panels)
    , 1973
    Flax, semi-worsted New Zealand wool
    120 x 96 inches (304.8 x 243.8 cm)
    Bjorn Wiinblad created masterpieces in many different media. One of his greatest commissions was for the tapestries for the Great Hall of the Dallas Apparel Mart installed in 1973. At the time dubbed a 'Great Dane' by the Dallas Times Herald, it was a natural step for Wiinblad who had previously completed commission work for Stanley Marcus and his Neiman Marcus department store at Dallas. Marcus, by then personal friends with Wiinblad for many years and present for the unveiling of these monumental tapestries on October 18, 1973 on the occasion of a black-tie event, called Wiinblad "the Hans Christian Andersen of his time, beloved in his own city as few are, he brings joy to every one he meets and to those he doesn't through the medium of his creation."

    Marcus was just then seeing these intricately woven tapestries that Wiinblad had been inspired to create five years before as he illustrated the Danish version of the Arabian Nights. At 144" x 96", the tapestries were woven by Fortunato Silverio weavers of Portugal from Wiinblad's design. The right needle craftsmen were essential to the tapestries' success and transfer of Wiinblad's art into another medium. Maria Elice Silverio, at the time head of the legendary weaving firm was present for the unveiling as well. The marrying of Wiinblad's art and the superior workmanship resulted in these magnificent tapestries. Bright, colorful and so complex that the pieces took seven different weavers to complete them, and, unlike older Flemish or French works of tapestry, these works are finished on the front and back making them completely reversible.

    Wiinblad chose the images of King Schazhaman and Doniazade from the Arabian Nights as the subjects of the tapestries. The two were the common backdrop as the legendary stores of Ali Baba, Aladdin and Sinbad were woven like this tapestry through the ages. Wiinblad's graph paper from which the weavers worked was a 60% scale of the tapestries' final size of 12 each' x 8'. Using flax in the warp (vertical) yarn and semi-worsted New Zealand wool for the weft (horizontal), the master craftsmen transferred each square of Wiinblad's graph into the final tapestries. Over 80 colors were used in each of the tapestries with over 10,000 man-hours needed to bring the works to completion.

    With gold and silver threads added, the colors illuminate the three tapestries (two here) that tell the story of the young and beautiful Doniazade and her marriage to King Schazhaman. In the first tapestry Doniazade's hair is combed by her sister, Scheherezade, the narrator of the 1,001 stories in the Nights, who has strewn her locks with pearls. Doniazade's red gown sparkles with gold and royal blue as her sister's silver dress is shimmering. In the second tapestry Doniazade is now dressed in a gown of blue satin by a royal woman.

    In each of the three tapestries Wiinblad's attention to detail is amazing. The richness of the dress of the women is brought to life in greater-than-life proportions never before attempted. Bjorn Wiinblad's brilliant use of color, combined with the skill of the master weavers in Portugal, has created a monumental work in the tapestry version of Arabian Nights. The works as a grouping are one of a kind, magnificent storytelling in the combination of the master works of fine artist and artisans.

    The original program from the unveiling at the Dallas Apparel Mart is included with the tapestries.

    Provenance:
    Acquired from the artist in 1973.


    Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000.

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    13th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,037

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