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Hidden Tapestry: Jan Yoors, His Two Wives, and the War That Made Them One

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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  51 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Hidden Tapestry reveals the unforgettable story of Flemish American artist Jan Yoors—childhood vagabond, wartime Resistance fighter, and polyamorous New York bohemian. At the peak of his fame in the 1970s, Yoors’s photographs and vast tapestries inspired a dedicated following in his adopted Manhattan and earned him international acclaim. Though his intimate friends guessed ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published April 15th 2018 by Northwestern University Press
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 ·  51 ratings  ·  18 reviews


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Valerity (Val)
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be an inspiring and moving biography about the Flemish artist Jan Yoors (1922 - 1977) and his life. He grew up the son of a stained glass artist and took off while very young with a band of Rom gypsies by accident and kept going for months. He enjoyed it so much that he did it again every year for all but the winter months for the next 10 years and felt torn between the two worlds after learning their ways and language.

But then when WWII came it changed everything about his life
...more
Debbie
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hidden Tapestry
Jan Yoors • His Two Wives • And The War That Made Them One

Hidden Tapestry by Debra Dean is a brilliantly detailed research rich docu-drama about the life and loves of tapestry artist, photographer, humanitarian and WWII war hero Jan Yoors. She digs deep into his colorful history from his childhood in Belgium, the son of a social reformer mother and an artist father - to his time with the Romani Gypsies - his clandestine participation in the WWII Resistance much of which isn’t docu
...more
Julia Keizer
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
   Hidden Tapestry Jan Yoors His Two Wives and the War That Made Them One by Debra Dean is a fantastic novel describing the true (although sometimes unbelievable) story of Jan Yoors (a Flemish-American artist) and the women who became his wives after the war. Starting from when they are young in the Netherland countryside; following each individually through the war, coming together as one after the war, and then ending at the display of the tapestries at Baker Museum in Naples, Florida with his ...more
Janet
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher ---
Hidden Tapestry reveals the unforgettable story of Flemish American artist Jan Yoors—childhood vagabond, wartime Resistance fighter, and polyamorous New York bohemian. At the peak of his fame in the 1970s, Yoors’s photographs and vast tapestries inspired a dedicated following in his adopted Manhattan and earned him international acclaim. Though his intimate friends guess
...more
Mar Dixon
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's been awhile since I've been able to pick up a book (work/life) but when Hidden Tapestry came in the mail, I decided I would take time to at least try to read a few chapters.

I read it non-stop in two days.

Debra Dean has managed to create a wonderful biography of Jan Yoors - artist/sculpture and storyteller himself - that was gripping to read. Jan Yoors had a complicated and complex life from the get go. In order to understand some aspects of his choices, Debra had to weave the past with th
...more
Elizabeth
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had the wonderful experience of meeting Marianne & Annabert - as the Art Director for a documentary student film when I attended NYU Film School back in the early 80's. I was thrilled when a friend gave me this book as a present - not knowing I knew these women, their incredible art as weavers for their husband, Jan Yoors. So -this brought back vivid memories of spending 2 weeks in their home off of Washing Sq. Park. It's a well-written, detailed, moving biography - which I highly recommen ...more
Lisabeth
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher. and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book. This book was brilliant. Debra introduces the family of Jan Yoon and exposes the reader to a different side of World War II and the creativity that it helped spawn. I have already encouraged several friends including two antique tapestry collectors to read this entrancing book.
Eileen Kopelman
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this book down. It should be a movie. It has all the right elements woven into a biography of Belgian tapestry artist and photographer Jan Yoors and his wives. Jan was a free spirit. He ran off with Gypsies and came back home again several times when he was a teenager, helped refugees escape the Nazis during WWII, was a dashing spy for the British, survived Nazi torture, loved and married two women, designed beautiful, modern tapestries, and ended up in New York after WWII. The bo ...more
Claire Flanagan
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
one man two wives many mistresses a life of incredible art shared between them. this book is a wonderfully elaborate story though true as a tapestry beautifully woven together that lets you dream of the life and love they shared. for me highly recommended and I am looking forward to researching jans work further.
Thomas Curtin
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Relying on primary source documents and extensive interviews, Dean cracks open the incredible story of charismatic tapestry artist, sculptor, painter, photographer, filmmaker, and war hero Jan Yoors and his taboo relationship with dual wives. Split between wartime Europe and post-Beatnik Greenwich Village, Dean’s well-wrought, fast-paced narrative is as enlightening and alluring as the characters whose lives she recounts. Always in the fore is Yoors’ adopted European Gypsy family, members of whi ...more
Story Circle Book Reviews
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Recognizing the author's name led me to Hidden Tapestry by Debra Dean. It was like no other book I've ever read. (Her historical novel, The Madonnas of Leningrad, is one of my favorite WW II novels.)

Hidden Tapestry is the biography of a Flemish American artist, Jan Yoors. It starts in Europe before WW II and follows Yoors' unusual life—an intermittent vagabond childhood with gypsies, war-time resistance activities that lead to arrests and torture by the Gestapo. His post-WW II struggles and near
...more
Patrick
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
When he was 12 years old, Jan Yoors ran away to live with the Roma (the Gypsies), traveling with them throughout Europe, and later was recruited to run an espionage network with the Roma during WWII. He wrote about his life with the Roma and his wartime adventures in two classic memoirs, The Gypsies and Crossing. If you haven't already, read those two books for a sense of the possibilities of life. Then start this new biography by Debra Dean, which fills in details of Jan's life, from his early ...more
Teague
Oct 16, 2018 rated it liked it
My book club's October read. The first half of the book is thrilling as it includes Jan's true-life tales of living among the Roma and the Dutch Resistance to Nazi Germany. The second half takes a wild detour following his rise in the New York art world of the 50's, 60's and 70's in the Old World medium of tapestry. The backdrop to all of this are the two women who supported his artistic and familial dreams. The three of them lived together in a polygamous triad. I can't call it polyamory becaus ...more
Kary
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Read for May 2019 sustainer book club. It was a fast read informative about a subject I most likely would not have read on my own.

I have one observation that I find it hard to believe Jan got all the credit for his tapestry artwork when the women where the ones doing the weaving; even though it was his designs being done my opinion is he should also have to be the one to do the work to get the credit. Interesting read that Warhol also had people doing some of the work and he just put his name o
...more
Ellen
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclubs
Read for Sustainer book club. Would not have picked up on my own Early part of the book of Yours young life and the war was fascinating. Life in America was interesting but a bit more of a slog to get thru. The uncoventional life that he led was a big misogynistic for my taste, but will chalk it up to his artist personality. Should be an interesting discussion.
Anne
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and well written biography by Debra Dean who wrote The Madonnas of Leningrad, another well written and interesting book. I learned even more about WWII and the resistance, particularly how the Gypsies were a part of it. I also learned about Jan Yoors.
Karen
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Artists & poly people & people interested in WWII
Recommended to Karen by: My aunt wrote it
Go see my auntie author talk & do some show & tell. There'll be some amazing images of art & gypsies & WWII Resistance fighters.
SEATTLE: QUEEN ANNE BOOK CO. - Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 7:00 PM 8:00 PM
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND: EAGLE HARBOR BOOK CO. - Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 6:30 PM 7:30 PM
ISSAQUAH: PUBLIC LIBRARY - Sunday, July 22, 2018 - 2:00 PM 3:00 PM
RENTON: FAIRWOOD LIBRARY - Monday, July 23, 2018 - 7:00 PM 8:00 PM
christine land
rated it really liked it
Feb 13, 2019
Jessica Hodge
rated it it was amazing
Feb 18, 2019
Elizabeth
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hidden Tapestries extends an enticing invitation to the world and art of Jan Yoors. Dean’s exquisite writing adds incredible breath and depth to the body of knowledge surrounding Yoors’ amazing life. Dean’s expert touch provides a biographical book that reads like a novel.
Tina
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May 01, 2018
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Aug 13, 2018
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Debra Dean is the bestselling author of four critically acclaimed books that have been published in twenty-two languages. Her debut novel, THE MADONNAS OF LENINGRAD, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a #1 Booksense Pick, a Booklist Top Ten Novel, and an American Library Association Notable Book of the Year. Her newest book is HIDDEN TAPESTRY: JAN YOORS, HIS TWO WIVES, AND THE WAR THAT MADE THE ...more