Arts & Crafts Movement

February 01, 2012

Arts & Crafts Furniture @ Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

A great place to see, and photography Arts and Crafts furniture at close range, is the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, VA; I recently visited VMFA to do just that. Their Arts and Crafts furniture is nicely nestled within the broad theme of VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Collection’s Art Deco and Art Nouveau collection located on the third floor in the Lewis Galleries. While there are only two rooms of exhibits, it is a well-rounded representation of American and British Arts and Crafts furniture. There are exceptional pieces from Gustav Stickley, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Greene & Greene on display.


September 03, 2010

Charles Rohlfs Furniture Exhibit @ The MET

I recently went to see the Charles Rohlf’s Furniture exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This was my first opportunity to see his furniture in person and I learned much from seeing his work. My first thought was that pictures don’t do justice to how his carving accent his furniture, or the presence created by his negative-space manipulating fretwork. The exhibit featured a broad stroke of Charles’ work, including desk chairs, dining room chairs, rocking chairs, chiffonier, desks, plant stands, settees, trefoil tables, a case clock, log holder, fork and spoon salad servers, and his famous rotating desk.


March 28, 2009

The Art that is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America, 1875 to 1920

I have to admit I’m about 27 years late coming to this dance, but this book is fast becoming one of my favorite on the American Arts and Crafts movement. Edited in 1987 by Wendy Kaplan, this 400 page book focuses on placing the movement in a social and intellectual context. The four major sections of this book discuss the Search for an American Identity- a discussion of forms and styles; Reforms in Craftsmanship-which examines the various methods of making objects; Spreading the Reform Ideal-focusing on the organizations, communities, and schools that spread the idea; and Reform of the Home- a look at the movements impact on domestic life and Craftsman interiors.


March 04, 2009

The Furniture of Charles Rohlfs

The Arts and Crafts movement has always provided a cozy home for paradox. English philosophical roots that are ground in craftsmanship attained by bringing the artist and craftsman back together; is juxtaposed by its American evolution that could not have existed without mass production. Stickley’s vision of affordable quality furniture for the middle class serving as early inspiration for Greene & Greene’s furniture; which could only be enjoyed by very privileged Americans. And Charles Rohlfs’ furniture-which looks nothing like the images normally conjured up when one thinks Arts and Crafts furniture– fits nicely into this paradoxical framework.