A Common Thread Between the Guthrie Theater and Lerner

quilt by Annette Garceau

by Lara Neel, Trade Marketing Manager, with help from Honor Murphy and Sophia Charbonneau

If you visit the office spaces at Lerner, you might notice that we have a few quilts hanging up on our walls.

Lerner Publishing Group quilt by Annette Garceau

Many years ago, the quilts were used as banners for trade shows. The bright colors and colorful design impressed people at the trade shows, and some even recognized Lerner as the publisher with the “beautiful quilt” every year. The giant quilts were certainly unique banner designs! While many Lerner employees appreciate the artwork, most do not know the history behind the artist who created the quilts. Harry Lerner first saw Annette Garceau’s quilts at an auction, but he was outbid by another person. He soon approached Garceau to create two quilts for Lerner.

A Link to the Theater Community

photo courtesy of the Guthrie Theater

Annette Garceau was a long-time costume designer for the Guthrie Theater here in Minneapolis. Garceau was born in England and designed costumes in London for the famous Old Vic Theater and Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Sir Tyrone Guthrie asked her to move to Minneapolis to help found the Guthrie Theater in 1963.

photo courtesy of the Guthrie Theater

She made costumes for the Guthrie for over 40 years, including many dresses for Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing,and Mary Stuart. For Mary Stuart, she crafted an elaborate dress for Queen Elizabeth. She was a beloved teacher for aspiring costume designers, teaching classes at University of Minnesota and Canada’s Theatre School in Montreal while also mentoring countless eager dressmakers along the way. She created intricate designs for period costumes, including ball gowns, capes, tunics, detailed collars, and other elaborate designs. 

photo courtesy of the Guthrie Theater

Garceau also worked as a freelance designer for many high-profile costumers in New York and Hollywood. She created dresses for Ginger Rogers and other costumes for Richard Burton, Christopher Plummer, Lorne Green, Gypsy Rose Lee, Alec Guinness, and Michael Redgrave. She passed away in 2017 just before her 104th birthday.

Lerner is honored to have a little piece of Annette Garceau’s great artistry right here on our walls.

p.s. – For more blasts from Lerner’s past, check out our Instagram feed every Thursday.

More posts by Lara Neel.

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