The art of printing textile

In 1746, four young men from Mulhouse, Samuel Koechlin, Jean-Jacques Schmaltzer, Jean-Henri Dolfus et Jean-Jacques Feer, founded the city’s first textile printing works. This modest venture proved to be the precursor to many others, and the effects of this industry can still be seen today.

During the 18th Century the city of Mulhouse grew rapidly, largely due to the implantation of numerous textile printers. The 19th Century, with its Industrial Revolution, led by the Textile Industry, saw the advent of Mulhouse and the Alsace area as world leaders in the manufacture and marketing of printed cloth. This heritage weaves the art, design and production of printed textiles intrinsically into the living history of Mulhouse and it’s people.

As well as being a decorative art form, through which the variety of the innumerable motifs can be said to reflect the collective taste of over three centuries, the art and craft of printed textiles is also a complex industrial process which has had to expose itself to radically new processes, different forms of mechanization, and to constant research and development.

From the most homely and familiar design to the prestigious symbol of luxury, printed textiles for both home and apparel wear are all around us. Looking closely through their history, the habits and tastes of over three centuries of European private lives can be identified.