Wil Fruytier | Touwkleed

Artist: Wil Fruytier (1915-2007)
Art work: Touwkleed (1966) 
Collection: Rotterdam municipal collection
Acquisition: Doelen percentage scheme for art

Self-taught Amsterdam-born artist Wil Fruytier is considered a trailblazer in the textile arts. She had been experimenting with woven tapestries since as early as 1950 but pursued a different course with her ‘rope rugs’. These sizable rugs, crafted from coarse rope cables, were intended as 'spatial creations'—Fruytier referred to herself as a textile architect. Her focus was on both spaces, and the way that spaces are designed, with meticulous attention given to the interplay of light and shadow. Through her 'soft' works, she offered a critique of modern architecture, often characterized by the use of 'hard' materials such as concrete, steel, glass, and mosaic. The rope cloths are meant to counterbalance the austerity of the architecture of de Doelen, Fruytier stated upon completing them. Following the same philosophy, she went on to create textile pieces for banks, hospitals, and universities. Notably, the Evides head office and the Erasmus University branch at the EMC in Rotterdam feature carpets crafted by her hand. The rope rug at de Doelen is considered a masterpiece in the textile art genre.
Following her divorce, Wil Fruytier entered into a relationship with architect Ben Kraaijvanger, son of de Doelen architect Herman Kraaijvanger. In 1966, Fruytier’s work was showcased as part of the exhibition Kunstenaressen van vandaag (‘female artists of today’), organized by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Rotterdamsche Vrouwelijke Studenten Vereeniging (Rotterdam Female Student Association).

The work was cleaned and restored by conservator-restorer Sadegh Memarian of ICAT Textielrestauratie in 2023.