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Room with cases of textiles


Delight in Discovery: The Global Collections of Lloyd Cotsen



Closing Date to Be Announced

A prolific collector, Lloyd Cotsen (1929–2017) assembled thousands of textile fragments, garments, and other artworks that reflected his admiration for indigenous cultures and vanishing artistic traditions. His ultimate goal, however, was to create opportunities for a wider audience to appreciate 3,000 years of human creativity. Celebrating a major gift from Margit Sperling Cotsen, this exhibition brings together global treasures gathered over a lifetime.



About the Exhibition

Over his lifetime, Lloyd Cotsen was known as many things: a philanthropist, the CEO of skin and hair-care company Neutrogena, and a world-renowned collector of textiles, basketry, and folk art. 

Delight in Discovery: The Global Collections of Lloyd Cotsen brings together extraordinary works from Cotsen's collections that reflect his eclectic taste: a Bible from 1617 England, a 21-foot-long ceremonial dance skirt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an iridescent textile by contemporary Japanese artist Junichi Arai, and much more. Most works come from two textile collections assembled by Cotsen and gifted to GW by his wife, Margit Sperling Cotsen, in 2018. 

Included in the display are more than 90 fragments from the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection, part of the 2018 gift. This collection of nearly 4,000 global fragments was created by Cotsen as a resource for scholars, artists, students, and curators. The entire collection is accessible on our collections website.

Delight in Discovery is accompanied by a gallery guide.



Bible cover depicting Adam and Eve

Robert Barker, Bible, England, London, 1617, T-3086, photo by Bruce M. White

Red textile with yellow stripes

Mantle, Peru, Inca culture, 9th–11th century, NT-0963

black and white textile

Ritual textile, Fiji, Cakaudrove district, c. 1900, T-3133

red and green textile

Shawl fragment, Coptic culture, 3rd–5th century, T-1070, photo by Bruce M. White

Gold textile

Shihoko Fukumoto (Japanese, b. 1945), Shade of the Sun, 1995, photo by Bruce M. White

Embroidered shawl

Woman's fichu, India, 18th century, T-3083, photo by Bruce M. White

Blue and white textile

Textile fragment, Hudson Valley, New York, late 18th century, T-0450, photo by Bruce M. White

Fringed vest

Vest, United States, Eastern Sioux People, 1890–1910, T-0845, photo by Bruce M. White

Brown textile

Textile fragment, Central Asia, Sogdian people, Tang dynasty (618–907), T-2540, photo by Bruce M. White




Video Tour



Red detail