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Olga de Amaral

Colombian  •  b. 1932


At age 22 with a degree in architectural design, Olga de Amaral moved from Bogotá to the United States where she studied fiber art at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. She returned to Colombia in 1955, and in 1956 she and her husband, Jim Amaral, opened a workshop of hand-woven textiles. De Amaral's distinctive large-scale abstract woven pieces are often covered in gold and silver leaf, lending them a shimmering, almost sculptural quality in contrast to the feeling of a tapestry. Her richly textured pieces evoke the varied natural landscapes of Colombia as well as ancient pre-Columbian gold artifacts. The artist's architectural background is evident in the precise sculptural quality of her works, but de Amaral says her craft is driven by emotion and that she does not plan for particular patterns to emerge. 


  • De Amaral's use of gold began in the 1980s after a visit to Japan. She took inspiration from the art of Kinstugi, by which pieces of gold are used to repair broken pottery.

  • De Amaral was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973 and was named "Artist Visionary" by the Museum of Art and Design in New York in 2005.

"Gold became an important material in my work. My search centered on how I could turn textile into golden surfaces of light."

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