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Cranbrook Academy of Art Mourns the Loss of Fiber Artist Yvonne Pacanovsky Bobrowicz

October 17th, 2022

Ms. Bobrowicz sits in front of one of her fiber sculptures.
Courtesy of the family

Cranbrook Academy of Art was saddened to learn of the passing of transformative fiber artist, Yvonne Pacanovsky Bobrowicz (MFA Fiber 1949). Known for her innovative cascading sculptures of hand-knotted, light-transmitting synthetic monofilaments interwoven with natural light-absorbent fibers of various materials and colors, Bobrowicz created works of simultaneous substance and translucency. She described her works as “cosmic energy fields” and “philosophical sculpture.”

Her work has been shown in dozens of solo and group exhibitions in the U.S. and internationally, and is in the permanent collections of individuals and museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Racine Museum of Art in Wisconsin, and the National Museum of Sweden in Stockholm.

In 2019, she was featured in the exhibition “Weaving Beyond the Bauhaus” which opened at the Art Institute of Chicago and explored weaving influenced by Bauhaus ideology and its protagonists marking the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus’ establishment. Four works were shown covering a span of her career between 1949 and 2017, including an upholstery textile woven at Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1949. The examples showed her early beginnings on the loom and transformation to working in hand-knotted techniques.

Bobrowicz studied under Marianne Strengell at Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1946 to 1949. She met painter and designer Joseph Bobrowicz (MFA Painting 1951) at the Academy, and they married in 1952. She also studied with textile artist Anni Albers at the Philadelphia Museum and School of Industrial Art, now the University of the Arts. She lectured and taught textiles and weaving at Drexel University from 1966 to 1997 and was a founding member of the Philadelphia Council of Professional Craftsmen.

Suspended works by Yvonne Pacanovsky Bobrowicz

Writer and curator Matthew Drutt said in an online tribute: “She was critical to the transformation of the perception of crafts as utilitarian objects preoccupied with process and technique, producing sophisticated objects that embodied parallel concerns occurring in design, architecture, and the fine arts.”

Read the full obituary in The Philadelphia Inquirer