I started thinking about this project in 1995 when I traveled with my brother, Dave, to Mexico for a few weeks of trekking around Sarape Country. He acted as Dr. Watson to my Sherlock and also as my translator and chief cheerleader. The project was ultimately put away for a decade and is now finally is realized. While I’ve been collecting sarapes for over thirty years I never had the funds needed to acquire the big guns — the iconic Saltillo blankets of the eighteenth century — and so had to ferret out more affordable examples from the post-Classic era. Teddy Varndell, a Chicago dealer and friend with an extraordinary eye has helped me acquire numerous examples and collaborated with this catalog and exhibition. Also in Chicago, Tom Kieft, has generously made his wonderful collection availalble to me for study and several of his peices are included in this publication. David Cook, an old friend and dealer in Denver, was supportive from the beginning. Other friends and collectors, who wish to remain anonymous, have opened their collections and expertise to me, for which I am thankful. Mark Winter, who has forgotten more than the rest of us have ever known about the Saltillo Sarape was likewise open and generous with his time, collection and insight. He very kindly agreed to write the introductory essay and helped to edit mine. Mary Beyer, my steadfast gallery director, has put up with all of my “rug” stuff and (mostly) given me a pass for all the time devoted to this personal project.

I have asked for and received help, advice and permission to reproduce images from several museums including the Field Museum, The Textile Museum, the Gilcrease Museum, the Casasola Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, the Museum of the National Museum of the American Indian and the Museum of International Folk Art.

I’ve been an art dealer for nearly forty years and a collector longer. One never tires of seeing beautiful things, or the quest to learn more about them. I hope this exhibition and catalog goes a ways towards helping others see and understand these magnificent textiles.

Tom McCormick, Chicago
April, 2011


Tom McCormick

Tom McCormick is a dealer in modern and contemporary art with a gallery in Chicago’s West Loop gallery district. As a vocation he is a specialist in Post-War American abstract painting. As an avocation he is a fervent collector. In 1969, while a student at the University of Kansas, he found an old oriental rug in the trash. The price was right and he began learning about rugs, which started a life-long intrest in antique textiles. This is a disease for which there seems to be no cure, just short term fixes. He lives in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood with his wife, daughters and two dogs, who all patiently put up with his affliction.

Mark Winter

Mark Winter began collecting Mexican Sarapes in the early 1970s and purchased his first Classic Saltillo in 1977. In 1981, he purchased the New World Arts collection of Saltillo Sarapes from collector Jim Jeter. After lengthy research, he curated Patterns of Prestige, the quincentenary Saltillo Sarape exhibition for the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, which toured the U.S. in 1992 and 1993. In 2003 he curated, El Sarape de Saltillo, Enigma y Huella, for the prestigious Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City. He has written, lectured, and traveled extensively researching historic Southwest textiles. He currently lives on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico where he is the proprietor of the Historic Toadlena Trading Post, working with contemporary Navajo weavers. His most recent book, The Master Weavers, will be available in summer of 2011.