Lot 3050
Silvia Heyden (Swiss-American, 1927-2015), Feathered Weave Tapestry
Lot Details & Additional Photographs
Linen and wool, last quarter of 20th century, cool and warm palette feathered motif with sculpted scale designs, with artist label to verso. Includes copy of the book The Making of Modern Tapestry: S. Heyden (1998), signed and dedicated by the artist.

3 ft 6 1/2 in. x 3 ft. 9 in. (42 1/2 x 45 in.)

From the Estate of the late Lucille Niebur, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Born in Basel, Switzerland, Heyden studied at the School of Arts in Zürich, where she built a strong foundation in color theory. She and her husband lived in many places, but considered Durham, North Carolina home.

Artist Statement:
"As I look back over my eighty years of sketching, seventy-five years of playing the violin and sixty years of weaving tapestries, I clearly see the confluence of strings in my work that has made musical themes of rhythm, motifs, movement, repetition and variation the key to my compositions. When I play my violin, I see the visual interpretation on the loom of musical pieces; when I am weaving, I listen to the inner rhythm of the forms and colors as my tapestry evolves. In my decades at the loom, I have never copied images, but rather have sought to let the patterns emerge organically as dictated by the process of weaving. Instead of superimposing a form to be woven on the weft, I have always looked with my ‘loomish’ eyes to see what the weft and warp would allow me to execute. As a result of experimenting with different techniques, I have over the years taken the basic elements of triangles, slits, and half-rounds to uncharted new territory, creating feathered weave, rounded slits, and sculpted bands. I aim to weave tapestries that are uniquely textile in nature and fully live up to the expressive potential of weaving, showing, for example, the texture of different colored threads in a way no painter could paint.

The impact of music on my tapestries can be seen in the dynamic tension built up and then released between forms and colors; in fact, many of my compositions follow the musical progression of allegro, largo, and vivace in a sonata, all while striving to keep the movement within the outline of the tapestry. My fingers improvise on the loom to bring out motifs and make them vibrate in the colors I combine before resolving the tension again. I am fascinated by the parallels between the strings of my violin and of my loom and often feel that after sixty years of exploration, I have only just begun to discover what is unique about weaving a tapestry."
(courtesy of the

One corner area with loose stitching, later velcro sewn to back for hanging is quite worn, else good estate condition.