Danzig, Germany (Gdansk, Poland)
Trude Guermonprez was born Gertrud Jalowetz in 1910 to Austrian parents in Danzig, Germany (modern day Gdańsk, Poland). Raised in the culturally rich Jalowetz family, she enrolled at the School of Fine and Applied Arts in Halle, Germany, noted for its faculty that included Marguerite Wildenhain. There, she began her textile studies and discovered an aptitude and love for weaving.
Image: "Trude Jalowetz" (Guermonprez), 1938. Photo by Paul Guermonprez. Trude Guermonprez papers, 1929-1986. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Asheville, North Carolina: BMC
Trude Guermonprez moved to Asheville, North Carolina, in 1947, following the death of her father, Heinrich Jalowetz, who had been a faculty member in music at Black Mountain College. Her mother, Joanne Jalowetz, taught voice and bookbinding at the college. During World War II, Guermonprez’s husband, Paul Guermonprez––a photographer and member of the Dutch Resistance––was captured and executed by the Nazis while Trude was in hiding with a family in the southern Netherlands. Guermonprez’s parents had known little about her whereabouts or safety during the war, and her arrival was cause for celebration. Having previously created rugs, upholstery fabrics, and other custom textiles at a Dutch weaving studio, Guermonprez was invited by Anni Albers to take a position as weaving consultant at Black Mountain College.
Image: The Jalowetz House, designed for Heinrich and Joanna Jalowetz by a number of student architects. Courtesy Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina, Asheville, NC.
Asheville, North Carolina: BMC (cont.)
In the fall of 1948, Guermonprez formally joined the faculty at Black Mountain College. Guermonprez and Anni Albers proposed a production-weaving program at the college, which the board approved on the condition that they help raise funds to bolster the college’s tenuous financial situation. The program may have been beneficial, but it was terminated before it could take off when Guermonprez resigned from her position in 1949, along with a number of other faculty members.
Image: Hazel Larsen Archer "Trude Guermonprez at Black Mountain College" c. 1948. Courtesy of the Estate of Hazel Larsen Archer and the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center