"Broken Star" variation

Magalene Wilsonc. 1925

Souls Grown Deep

Souls Grown Deep
Atlanta, United States

"Star" patterns' inherent boldness meshes well with the creative temperaments of many Gee's Bend quiltmakers. Magdalene Wilson's black-and-white "Broken Star" could not be more clearly defined in its figure-ground relationships. Her materials are humble: the white ground is feed or flour sacks. Gee's Bend quilts from this era often deploy a limited color palette— usually black, blue, or red—popping from the white of the cotton sacks. The haunting power of Wilson's "Broken Star," against the grain of the generally gaily colored "Stars" that prevail throughout the American quilt tradition, lies in its restraint. In emptying the quilt of color, Wilson maximized the graphic punch of the inset diamonds.


  • Title: "Broken Star" variation
  • Creator: Magalene Wilson
  • Creator Lifespan: 1898/2001
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Creator Gender: Female
  • Date Created: c. 1925
  • Location Created: Gee's Bend, Alabama
  • Physical Dimensions: 91 x 85 in. (231.1 x 215.9 cm)
  • Subject Keywords: Gee's Bend, Black art, African American art
  • Type: Quilt
  • Rights: © Magalene Wilson / Photo: Stephen Pitkin, Pitkin Studio
  • External Link: https://www.soulsgrowndeep.org/artist/magalene-wilson
  • Medium: Cotton, wool, silk

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