Lenore Tawney (May 10, 1907 – September 24, 2007) was a fiber artist who played a major role in the fiber art movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Tawney in the beginning of her career started off as a sculptor but transitioned to weaving by 1954. She was experimental with her tapestries, combining traditional elements with unconventional styles. Tawney approached tapestry weaving with the three main styles of solid straight weaving, open warp weaving, and mesh or screen weaving creating intricate and elaborate woven forms.
Tawney, born in Lorain, OH, took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago as well as at the Institute of Design in Chicago, where she studied sculpture under Alexander Archipenko and weaving under Marli Ehrman. By 1958, Tawney moved to New York City where she set up her own studio with a group of abstract expressionist artists including Agnes Martin, Jack Youngerman, and Ellsworth Kelly. Tawney created large scale works consisting of fiber, wood, animal fragments, and found objects that reached up to 20 ft in height. Tawney continued to make art in New York City until her death in 2007.
Tawney’s work can be found in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY, The Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, WA, and several more. Tawney was the recipient of the American Craft Council’s Gold Medal Award (1987), Master of the Medium Award, Renwick Alliance (1999), and the Visionaries Award, American Craft Museum (2000).