Jan Yoors (1922-1977) was born in Antwerp, Belgium to a cultured, liberal family of artists. At the age of twelve, he ran off with a wandering band, or kumpania, of Gypsies and lived with them on and off for ten years. During World War II, the artist worked with the Allies to help the Gypsies. His memoir on this period of his life, The Gypsies, was published in 1965 and remains a seminal work on this unique group of people.
Yoors was one the most important textile artists of the twentieth century. In the past five years, his work has been featured in a dozen solo exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Smithsonian Institution’s American Art Museum, the Archives of American Art, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. His drawings, his tapestries, and his own fascinating personal history have been featured in various publications including Architectural Digest, Vogue, and Elle Décor. In 2015, in recognition of his importance as a historical figure and as an artist, Belgium issued a postage stamp of Yoors’ Yellow Tantra tapestry.
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