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       Lore Kadden Lindenfeld    

April 27, 1921
April 8, 2010

Fiber artist
Textile designer


1946 Summer Art Institute
1947 Summer Session
1948 Summer Session in the Arts

Weaving and textile design, August 27, 1948
Graduation examiner, Marli Ehrman




Textiles and Weavings by Lore Lindenfeld




Lore Kadden was born in Wuppertal, Germany, where she lived as a child. Her father, Alfred Kadden, was a businessman, and her mother, Frieda Kadden, helped him as a bookkeeper and was also a homemaker. Kadden's father insisted that her studies lead to a practical profession, and in 1937 she enrolled at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf where she studied fashion design for three semesters until her education was terminated by the Nazis. In November 1938, leaving all possessions behind, Lore fled overnight to Holland with her parents and younger brother. There she worked as a seamstress for a short time in a workshop in which Queen Wilhelmina's clothes were made.

In 1939 the Kadden family arrived in the United States They lived in Brookline, a suburb of Boston, where Lore became their main support, making clothing alterations in various shops. She soon found employment as a seamstress and then as a salesperson at the Window Shop, a Cambridge shop and restaurant founded by Harvard faculty wives to provide employment for refugees. At the time an American college education seemed an unattainable dream. Nevertheless, Lore enrolled at Harvard in English composition courses for adults. She also attended the Institute for Social Progress at Wellesley College. There, Dorothy Hill, the director, became her mentor and encouraged her to pursue higher education.

At the Window Shop in the summer of 1945, Lore Kadden met Nan Oldenburg (Stoller Black), a young refugee who had studied at Black Mountain College. Dorothy Hill encouraged Lore to apply for a scholarship from the Window Shop. She was interviewed by Sam Brown, a former Black Mountain student, who was staying at the home of Mrs. Joseph Jamieson. Jamieson's son, Edward Boardman 'Jimmy' Jamieson was a former student. Lore enrolled at Black Mountain in the fall of 1945. At the end of her first year Mrs. Jamieson visited the College, and when she found out that the Window Shop could not renew the scholarship, she offered to pay the tuition for the following years. To pay for three summers at Black Mountain, Lore worked cleaning the campus in preparation for the summer programs. She graduated in Weaving and Textile Design in August 1948, with Marli Ehrman as her examiner.

At Black Mountain Lore was able to enjoy her youth, freed from the struggle for economic and physical survival that had informed her earlier choices. Although she was twenty-four at the time, she found herself in the company of other older students, both refugees and G.I.s, whose lives had been interrupted by the war. She had no idea what to expect at the college, and the first day of manual labor, gathering corn stalks on the farm, left her exhausted. She adapted quickly, however, and thrived in the open communal atmosphere of the college although she could never feel as "carefree" as the American students who had not experienced exile and adult responsibilities.

Lore Kadden took a general curriculum, including bookbinding with Johanna Jalowetz, mathematics with Max Dehn, and literature with M.C. Richards. Free to select classes of a non-practical nature, she enrolled in art and weaving classes. She took Josef Albers's classes in watercolor, drawing and design, repeating classes to develop a deeper understanding of the principles Albers was expounding.

Both the art and weaving classes were held in a large studio on the ground floor beneath the Studies Building, and it was only natural that Lore, with her background in fashion design and sewing, was drawn to the weaving program. At Black Mountain she studied with three refugee teachers, Anni Albers, Franziska Mayer, and Trude Guermonprez (Elsesser). She first enrolled in the summer of 1946 in Anni Albers' class in Textile Design. Anni Albers brought to her teaching an extraordinary knowledge of both the artistic and technical aspects of weaving. Her students started with the simplest weaves and gradually progressed to more complex structures. Lore recalled that under Anni Albers, "I became eventually very much interested in the combination of weave constructions. It was almost like mathematics. I really tried to see how far I could go with this." Anni Albers's commitment was to the design of textiles for industrial production. Unlike many programs in which design was done on paper, she advocated design on the handloom in direct contact with materials. She encouraged students to envision specific sites, with conditions that would determine the selection of materials and textile structure.

When Anni Albers left for an extended sabbatical in the fall of 1946, Lore studied with both Franziska Mayer and Trude Guermonprez (Elsesser). Mayer, the niece of the mathematician Max Dehn, who taught at the college, represented a traditional approach to weaving. Lore recalled that she was both a competent teacher and a friend with whom she enjoyed hikes in the surrounding mountains. It was Trude Guermonprez (Elsesser) who had the greatest influence on Lore's work and who became a life-long friend. In Europe Guermonprez had been associated with the School of Applied and Fine Arts in Halle/Saale, closely related to Bauhaus design. Under her guidance weaving for Lore transcended  the technical aspects, entering her being in a more profound and engaging way. Lore spent the summer of 1950 at Pond Farm in California, where Trude Guermonprez had joined a craft community where Marguerite Wildenhain was also active.

After her graduation in 1948, Lore Kadden moved to New York. She recalled that the possibility that she might become an independent weaver did not occur to her. Instead, she sought employment in the textile industry. Her first position was as assistant to a designer at the Forstmann Woolen Company in Passaic, New Jersey, a plant where the entire process of textile production was represented. Although her bosses thought it a waste of time for an attractive young woman, she enrolled in the company's night courses to gain a better understanding of the technical aspects of textile production, especially the relationship between the hand and power looms.

At her second job, at Kanmak Textiles, Lore was hired as a designer. At the time textile designs were largely created by women as color drawings which technicians at the mills then translated into workable designs. Kadden convinced her employer to purchase an eight-harness loom on which she could design directly with materials. As part of the design process, she had to consider the limitations of the power loom. Often she traveled to southern mills to show the technicians how to thread the looms for production. She also worked for John Walther Fabrics and for Herbert Meyer, Inc. as well as for prominent fashion garment designers. Her work was featured in fashion ads in Mademoiselle,Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, and American Fabrics. In an article, "Designing for the Fashion Market," in Craft Horizons (April 1953), Lore Kadden outlined the problems and possibilities faced in designing textiles for industry.

In 1953 Lore Kadden married Peter Lindenfeld, a physicist whom she had met at a presentation by John Cage at the Artists Club on Eighth Street. Until the birth of her second child she continued to work as a designer in the textile industry. In 1958, she abandoned a promising career to rear her children, Naomi and Thomas. For eighteen years she later taught weaving at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey. To present proper credentials - her Black Mountain certificate was not an accredited degree - Lindenfeld obtained her Master's Degree in Creative Arts Education from Rutgers in  1982.

When designing for industry, Lore Kadden Lindenfeld challenged prevailing attitudes with respect to methods of work and women's place in the industry. Similarly, when she returned to weaving as an independent weaver, her approach to fiber arts was that of an artist-craftsperson. The weaving, sewing and embroidery skills she had mastered in Germany, Holland and the United States as well as her studies with Josef Albers were the foundation for her later work. Lore later recalled of Albers' influence: "To take materials that were unrelated and to combine them in such a way that they lost their identity. To change them through manipulation and through combining things. I find that is something - that way of seeing and that way of discovering - this possibility has really stayed with me to the present day and really has been very important. Also the relationship of color - to see color in terms of the amount of color, the placement of color, the relationship of color, and to have a sense of what the combination of color can mean in terms of what you want to say, what you really want to portray."

Lindenfeld's first hangings were of plastic raffia in combination with nylon and wool fibers. A second series used raffia and other materials in combination with twisted ribbon, a technique which enhanced the reflective qualities of the ribbon and gave it a sculptural, three-dimensional form. The third technique employed layers of translucent materials on which Lindenfeld "draws," using both embroidery and ink to create the line. The form of her work includes single panels as well as book forms and rigid panels forming a triptych. Her work has been influenced by pre-Columbian weaving to which she was introduced by Anni Albers at Black Mountain, Japanese art and traditional embroidery.

Lore Lindenfeld's work has been exhibited in group exhibitions and has been the subject of several one-person exhibitions including a retrospective, "Lore Kadden Lindenfeld: A Life in Textiles", at the Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center in Asheville, North Carolina (Dossier #3, 1997, essay by Sigrid Wortmann Weltge), and "Fibergraphics: Remembered Images", in the Newark Museum, 1993. Her work was included in "Bauhaus: Dessau - Chicago - New York" at the Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany in 2000, and in "Textile/Fiber/Thread" at the Center for Book Arts in New York. Her work is in the collections of the Renwick Gallery, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center, Asheville, North Carolina, The Fashion Institute of Technology, New York and the Museum of Art & Design (former American Craft Museum), and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. In 1985 Lindenfeld was recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship. She has contributed articles to Surface Design Journal and Fiber Arts and has lectured on Japanese art, pre-Columbian art, and Black Mountain College.

Lindenfeld volunteered at the Newark Museum and was a docent at the Princeton University Art Museum.

In March 2010, Lore Lindenfeld had a retrospective exhibition at the Suzanne Patterson Center in Princeton. After suffering a stroke in 2008, she was unable to work. On April 8, 2010, she died at her home in Princeton where she had been cared for by her husband Peter. Their daughter Naomi Lindenfeld is a ceramist and teaches at the Putney School in Vermont. Tom Lindenfeld is a political consultant in Washington, D.C.


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