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Design House Fortuny Italian
Designer Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo Spanish

Not on view

Fortuny’s vast textile collection included examples from Islamic Spain, which introduced him to motifs he adapted for his own designs. One fragment, woven in Granada in the mid-fourteenth century during the Nasrid period and now in the collection of the Museo del Traje in Madrid, displays complex interlacements of geometric motifs worked in gold thread on a satin ground. For this jacket, Fortuny conceived a similarly intricate geometric pattern in soft shades of gold and silver on a blue velvet ground. It was this color combination that Proust envisioned for a Fortuny gown worn by his character Albertine in In Search of Lost Time; he described the gown’s enchanting hues and lush patterning as being reminiscent of Venice. For Proust, a Fortuny ensemble could capture the shimmering light, color, and ornament of Venice itself, a city that, like Granada, reflected the historical exchange of artistic influence between Islamic and European cultures.

Jacket, Fortuny (Italian, founded 1906), silk, silk/cotton, Italian

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© 2019 Nicholas Alan Cope