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1791 and more art by Renee Magnanti

1791, 2020
42 x 14 inch (h x w)
intaglio with paper yarn weaving and hand painting

For “Silence” I have created a double-sided weaving with
an intaglio print titled “1791,” the year the 5th amendment was enacted. The text in the print reads “In 1791, when Congress ratified the Fifth Amendment guaranteeing a grand jury, due process, no double jeopardy or self-incrimination, American women settlers were embroidering samplers and selling their handmade lace in Ipswich, MA. Native American women were making textiles, quillwork, basketry, pottery and abstract paintings. African American female slaves were weaving fabrics,
sewing clothes and making quilts.“
The purpose of my theme is to document women’s creative contributions and also to comment on the value of crafts as high art during a time when amendments were simultaneously and propitiously passed in the newly formed United States. For my piece, I researched the creative arts and crafts of women in the late 18th century.
Included are settler immigrant women, Native American women and African American enslaved women. I found examples of samplers in the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art made by settler women in that time period, which I used as a template for the composition of my print. I also used hand-colored text in
recognition of its usage in samplers. The lace patterns
that I used were derived from the patterns made by 18th
century European-American women that were sold in Massachusetts.
The “Art of Native America” exhibition at the Metropolitan
Museum had examples of female Native American art from the
1790’s that I used as inspiration for design details.
Despite the inhumane conditions of enslavement, these women were able to express their creativity
through the handicrafts they made for the slaveowners as well as for their families. As I was unable to find examples of 18th century work created by female slaves, I have represented their contributions through the text and an embedded quilt design, symbolic of the work they did.

Renee Magnanti received her BFA in Fine Arts from SUNY at Buffalo and her MFA from Tulane University. She lives and works in New York City and has shown her work there, in the US, Europe and Asia, in museums, universities and private galleries. She is the recipient of several awards and grants including the Rumsey Traveling Fellowship
from SUNY Buffalo, The Creative Artist’s Program grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and a Textile Society of America conference scholarship for "Textiles Close Up: Indonesia at the Yale University Art Gallery."
Magnanti was also honored to have been selected to participate in the Art in Embassies Program. Her current work in encaustic, prints and print weaving is inspired by world textiles and often incorporates text in the image.
She is known for her singular technique of carving in encaustic as well as her distinctive approach of combining prints with weaving. Her work is in the collections of the Amarillo Museum of Art; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art,
Cornell University; National Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria; Sanbao Ceramic Institute, Jingdezhen, China; Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, Rethymno, Crete, Greece; and The Goethe House, Thessaloniki, Greece.

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