Color Duets: Kaffe Fassett and Erin Lee Gafill

Thursday, May 13 – Sunday, October 10, 2021


In a redwood canyon down the Big Sur coast sits a small cabin. Each spring artists Kaffe Fassett and his niece Erin Lee Gafill share a stolen week sitting side by side at their easels to paint. During these stolen weeks, they share a decade long visual conversation that began long ago in their family home at Nepenthe. Fassett is known as a textile designer, Gafill as a landscape painter. The two share a common language in paint, and a passion for color.

Color Duets invites us behind the scenes of two artists’ vision, process, and influences. It pulls back the veil, revealing the inspiration, craft, and environment that bring new artworks into being. There are more than just two voices here. One sees echoes of Giorgio Morandi, a favorite of both artists, with his obsessive repetition of subjects and soulful chromatic grays, the color-drenched influence of Emile Nolde and his flower portraits, and the delight of color, bold pattern, and the home celebrated by Matisse.


Be a part of Color Duets!

Due to COVID-19, MMA’s upcoming exhibition, Color Duets: Kaffe Fassett and Erin Lee Gafill was postponed from last spring to this May.
Now, thanks to our new digital wing, MMA is offering the exhibition virtually (as well as in person regulations permitting) with enriched online content to bring Erin and Kaffe’s message of color and creativity to a broader audience. But we need your help!
Our new digital wing requires additional technology and staffing outside of our resources and we need you to help us create the programming our community deserves.
For your tax deductible gift to “Color Duets” at MMA this week only (through Sunday, March 14), Erin will send you a special thank you gift!
$50 – a set of 12 “Color Duets” 5″x7″ postcards
$100 – a signed and numbered show print
$250 – a signed copy of the “Color Duets” full-color show catalog
$500 – an original still life painting, 5″x7″
$1,000 – an original still life painting, 8″x10″
$2,500 – an autumn gallery tour and lunch with Kaffe and Erin (COVID restrictions permitting)
About the Artists

Kaffe Fassett is a world-renowned textile designer at the height of his career. His niece Erin Lee Gafill is a mid-career artist, an award winning painter and teacher. They share a common upbringing in Big Sur, California, with roots in the arts going back to their childhoods at Nepenthe Restaurant. This creative Mecca was founded by Kaffe’s parents Lolly and Bill Fassett. Their shared ancestor was Jane Gallatin Powers, an early California painter who had the first art studio in Carmel in 1904.
Kaffe revolutionized knitwear in the 80’s with his extraordinary use of color and pattern. He is a pioneer in contemporary needlepoint, mosaic, quilting, and fabric design. Here, he returns to his roots – painting – through the tradition of still life. Erin, known for large scale abstracted landscapes and boldly colored still lifes displays a new voice here with her muted palette, emphasis on overlapping pattern, and chromatic range.