Stitchgasm! – The Prinzhorn Collection

Thanks to Tamar Stone for telling me about the Prinzhorn Collection of the Psychiatric University Hospital of Heidelberg (via this groovy blog) which features approximately 5000 pieces of artwork created by roughly 450 patients. One piece in particular is of note:

Agnes Richter's embroidered jacket

Agnes Richter, a patient in a mental asylum in austria in the 1890’s, spent her days embroidering text on to the jacket of her hospital uniform in attempts to record her life story. Agnes, who had been a seamstress before her incarceration, painstakingly embroidered onto every part of the surface, both inside and out, sometimes so intensively that the text was illegible.

Agnes Richter's embroidered jacket

A fascinating glimpse into a world that has changed very much. Oh to see the pieces for real…

(I have to thank Mollshot, who runs the aforementioned blog and another equally groovy one for constructing the sentences above for me to shamelessly pinch)

Mr X
Hit me up!

Mr X

The Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery. Committed to changing the way the world thinks about needlecraft.
Mr X
Hit me up!

9 thoughts on “Stitchgasm! – The Prinzhorn Collection

  • Wow! An astonishing piece with a fascinating story. The letters looks so much like handwriting and I love that about it.

  • That really is a very fascinating object… – the words, I think, are like letters to her boyfriend, who promised to get her out of the hospital but abandoned her. Poor woman…

  • Thanks for the translation Ger, that’s really helpful. And additionally poignant.

  • This is amazing and heartbreaking.

  • I’m always delighted to see people interested in Agnes Richter’s jacket, which is the focus of my new book (Agnes’s Jacket: A Psychologist’s Search for the Meanings of Madness, published 2009 by Rodale Books). After years spent studying Agnes and her jacket, I report in the book everything that can be known from existing records about her fascinating creation. Alas, Agnes had no boyfriend, as the comment above suggests, nor was she in Austria; to learn the truth about her life and her work, check out my book and my website.

  • Thanks for your comment Gail, that sounds really interesting. You’re welcome to share any snippets of info with us for free if you want… 🙂

  • I really dont like this jacket at all. The colours are bland and uninspiring. Personally I would never wear it.

  • What would it be like to have embroidery as your best way of communicating? What a heartbreaking story.

  • hi mr. x stich,
    thanks for all the nice links–
    dig your blog!

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