On View: Decorative Art, 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
From the 1860s through the 1910s, proponents of the Arts and Crafts movement in both Britain and the United States opposed industrialization and its dehumanizing effects. Instead, they championed honest use of materials, reduction of applied ornament, and interiors with soft, muted colors. One of its earliest British promoters was William Morris, an ardent socialist and designer of the window hanging on view here, who advocated a philosophy of reform that sought to reconnect objects and makers and recast the designer as craftsman.
Through publications and lectures the movement quickly spread to the United States, where it gained popularity as much for its aesthetics as its social ideals. In Massachusetts, the Grueby Faience Company created matte green glazes for its naturalistic art pottery, while the Pairpoint Manufacturing Company produced Arts and Crafts–inspired designs in silver. In upstate New York, Gustav Stickley became a leading proponent of American Arts and Crafts through his influential publication, The Craftsman; his widely distributed, industrially produced furniture equally embodied his mantra of simplicity and honesty of materials and construction. In Southern California, the architecture and design firm of Greene and Greene created fully integrated architecture and interiors filled with luxurious furnishings that accented mahogany chairs with ebony construction details. More idiosyncratic was George Ohr. The self-proclaimed “Mad Potter of Biloxi,” Mississippi, Ohr created eccentric, technically outstanding ceramics using clay dug from the nearby Tchoutacabouffa River.
Walnut, inlaid copper and pewter
49 x 54 1/2 x 12 in. (124.5 x 138.4 x 30.5 cm) (show scale)
Gift of The Roebling Society
Gustav Stickley (1857-1942). Desk, ca.1904. Walnut, inlaid copper and pewter, 49 x 54 1/2 x 12 in. (124.5 x 138.4 x 30.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society, 68.183.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 68.183.1_bw.jpg)
overall, 68.183.1_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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