The Textile Museum's 2010 George Hewitt Myers Award honoree Michael Franses
The Textile Museum announced today that Michael Franses, renowned textile publisher and scholar, has been chosen as the 2010 recipient of the museum’s George Hewitt Myers Award, one of the highest accolades in the field of textile arts. The Myers Award, named for The Textile Museum’s founder and given by the Board of Trustees, recognizes Franses’ lifetime achievements and exceptional contributions to the field of textile arts. Previous recipients include researcher Mattiebelle Gittinger (2009); scholar Jon Thompson (2008); collector and philanthropist Lloyd Cotsen (2007); the late Josephine Powell, an ethnographer and photographer (2006); and textile designer and collector Jack Lenor Larsen (2005). Franses will be honored with the Myers Award at an event held at the Residence of the Turkish Embassy on Thursday, October 14, 2010.
“Perhaps no one else alive today has accomplished more for the field of Oriental carpets and textiles than Michael Franses,” said Bruce P. Baganz, president of The Textile Museum Board of Trustees. “Through his scholarship, publications and exhibitions, Mr. Franses has demonstrated his commitment to educating a wider audience about the textile arts—an effort closely aligned to the mission of The Textile Museum.”
Upon receiving the award announcement, Michael Franses commented, “In 1967, soon after I started to build my carpet and textile library and photo archive, I became aware of The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. through its Journal and numerous other outstanding publications. I first visited the Textile Museum in 1973 and was immediately smitten. The kind of textiles that [Textile Museum founder] George Hewitt Myers collected, in particular classical Persian, Spanish and Chinese carpets, were in my opinion then, and still remain today, at the aesthetic pinnacle of textile art. The more I study what Myers collected, the more I rank him as probably the greatest collector and connoisseur of historical carpets ever. Even before my first visit to Washington, I had named my business The Textile Gallery, so that I might modestly attempt to follow in his footsteps. Now, at the end of my business career, as I embark upon full-time carpet and textile research in my ‘retirement,’ to be honored with the George Hewitt Myers Award is the greatest recognition I could ever have received.”
About Michael Franses
Michael Franses is the author and publisher of numerous books and periodicals related to the textile arts as well as co-founder of several textile-related organizations. For more than 40 years he has built major private and institutional collections worldwide as a dealer and advisor and organized exhibitions for galleries, museums and private collectors. He currently consults and pursues scholarly writing through new publications.
Born in 1949 in Brighton, England, Michael Franses began his apprenticeship in the field of antique carpets and textiles in 1965, working with his father, who had rejoined the family business, S. Franses (carpets) Ltd. In 1969 Franses and his father left the family firm to form their own partnership, Robert Franses & Son. Three years later, Michael Franses became managing director of a new company in London, The Textile Gallery. In this position Franses acquired numerous important historical carpets and textiles and began to arrange exhibitions for museums and private collections.
In the early1970s, Franses formed a textile conservation studio in London employing nine conservators, looking after historical carpets and textiles in many important private and museum collections. In 1975, he co-founded the International Conference on Oriental Carpets, jointly organizing the first conference in London in 1976. That same year he co-founded Hali, The International Journal of Oriental Carpets and Textiles, was the publisher, co-editor and principal shareholder until 1986. He has since remained a consultant editor and regular contributor. In 1993 he established Textile & Art Publications to continue the dissemination of new research on textiles and other art forms.
Franses owned The Textile Gallery in London from 1971-2007, exhibiting at major art fairs all over the world and mounting numerous special exhibitions. He closed his gallery three years ago and the following year closed his publishing company and became board chairman of Hali Publications Ltd. His intention is to devote his autumn years to study and to putting his extensive archives in order and making these widely available. He is currently working on a catalogue raisonné covering the early history of Chinese woven silk, from the Warring States to Northern Dynasties periods (475 BC—AD 580) and collaborating with scholar Elena Tsareva on The Birth of a Rug, a book charting the history of carpets before 1400. He is also assembling a catalogue raisonné of East Mediterranean carpets. He is working as editor of two volumes on the Khalili collection of Islamic carpets and textiles, and as editor and principal author of a publication of carpets in the collection of the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.
Recently, in 2009, he was awarded the Joseph V. McMullan Award, presented by the Near Eastern Art Research Center, for his stewardship and scholarship of Islamic rugs and textiles. Franses currently resides in Somerset and London with his wife, Jacqueline.
Turkish Embassy Residence in Washington, D.C., photo courtesy M.V. Jantzen
About The Turkish Embassy Residence
The Turkish Embassy Residence is one of Washington, D.C.’s most important historic buildings. Designed by well-known architect George Oakley Totten, Jr. and completed in 1914, the Mansion was commissioned by Edward H. Everett, a wealthy industrialist from Cleveland, Ohio best known for inventing the corrugated metal tops for soft-drink bottles. Architect George Oakley Totten, Jr. had a longstanding relationship with Turkey before the future Residence was built. He previously worked in Istanbul, where he designed the first American Chancery and a Residence for Izzet Pasha, the Grand Vezir, Prime Minister of the Empire. His work was so well received that he was offered the position of “Private Architect to the Sultan.”
Totten blended three architectural periods in his design for the mansion: 16th-century Italian, 18th-century Romanesque and 19th-century Art Deco, with distinct features from decorative Ottoman styles. During the 1920s, the House because famous for festive musical evenings with singers from New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Everett continued to reside in the mansion until his death in 1929. In 1932, Everett’s widow, Grace Burnap, leased the House to the Turkish Embassy and it was used both as Chancery and Residence. In 1936, at the behest of Turkey’s first President, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the House was purchased with all its contents. In the 1990s, the Chancery moved to Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue and the Mansion became the Residence of the Ambassadors of Turkey. The Residence was closed in 2004 for a nearly three-year renovation effort, during which all contents were painstakingly restored.
About The Textile Museum
Established in 1925 by collector George Hewitt Myers, The Textile Museum is dedicated to expanding public awareness and appreciation – locally, nationally and internationally – of the artistic merit and cultural importance of the world’s textiles. The museum presents changing exhibitions of historical textiles from its 18,000-piece collection and other holdings as well as contemporary fiber art, complemented by a range of public programs for all ages.
The Textile Museum is located at 2320 S Street, NW, in Washington, D.C.’s Embassy Row, and housed in two historic buildings: the founder’s family home – designed in 1913 by John Russell Pope – and an adjacent building designed in 1908. These former residences provide a warm, intimate setting for the museum’s galleries, research library, shop and program spaces. The museum also boasts lovely gardens designed by Rose Greely, Washington’s first licensed female architect. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. The suggested donation for admission is $5 for non-members. For more information, visit www.textilemuseum.org or call (202) 667-0441.
Media Contact: Cyndi Bohlin, Director of Communications and Marketing, (202) 667-0441, ext. 78 or email@example.com.