American Arts and Crafts Movement


This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "American Arts and Crafts Movement." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to these articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the Resource Library publication date.

After articles and essays from Resource Library are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches. Following online resources may be information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.

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From Resource Library in chronological order:

Behold the Day: The Color Block Prints of Frances Gearhart; essay by Susan Futterman (11/18/09)

Learn via Beauty in Common Things: American Arts and Crafts Pottery from the Two Red Roses Foundation (11/7/08) how, reacting against the crassness of industrial production and seeking to elevate the decorative arts to the level of the fine arts, fervent Arts and Crafts reformers advocated the reintegration of art into everyday life. The implications were both social and aesthetic and touched upon critical issues such as the role of women in society and the search for a modern style.

Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Beauty; essay by Constance Schwartz (9/3/08)

The Mingei International Museum presents Craft in America - Expanding Traditions (11/20/07). Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, the exhibition explores the many cultures and movements that have contributed to the development and refinement of American crafts during the last two centuries -- furniture, ceramics, fiber and textiles, basketry, glass, wood, jewelry and metal. On view are objects by traditional craft makers, designer craftsmen of the Arts & Crafts Movement, the artists of the WPA programs, post World-War II studio craft pioneers and contemporary studio craft artists.

The American Arts & Crafts Home, 1900 - 1915:  Selections from the Two Red Roses Foundation Collection (2/1/06)

The Milwaukee Art Museum exhibit The Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America, 1880-1920: Design for the Modern World (2/8/05)

American Fancy: Exuberance in the Arts 1790-1840 (12/20/04) showcases more than 300 Arts and Crafts objects from the United States and throughout Europe - including furniture, ceramics, metalwork, textiles, and works on paper - borrowed from 75 institutions and private collections. The Arts and Crafts Movement was a response to a century of unprecedented social and economic upheaval. Its name was coined in 1887, when a group of designers met in London to found an organization - the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society - for which applied art would be valued as equal to fine art. Many in the movement championed the moral and spiritual uplift that would come with the revival of making objects by hand. The improvement of working conditions, the integration of art into everyday life, the unity of all arts, and an aesthetic resulting from the use of indigenous materials and native traditions also were central to the movement's philosophy.

The Maryland Historical Society presents American Fancy, Exuberance in the Arts, 1790-1840 (7/14/04). The early 19th century was an age in which the delights of the imagination held sway over popular taste. Young America was fascinated with the visual and its application to everyday objects. This fascination led to a dramatic and widespread aesthetic change-an outburst of creativity and desire to make the objects of everyday life visually and emotionally engaging and expressive."Fancy" objects, decorated with bold patterns, brilliant colors, and animated forms, were used in nearly every aspect of life -- from domestic baking tools to public parade uniforms and shop signs. While scholars have often categorized these colorful and playful artifacts as "folk art," American Fancy examines these goods as part of mainstream, urban, upper- and middle-class style and material culture. Furniture, ceramics, textiles, metals, glass and paintings, were purposefully designed to activate the senses and express distinct literary, philosophic, and political views.

American Fancy: Exuberance in the Arts, 1790-1840 (1/21/04)

"Leaves have their time to fall": Reflections of Mourning in Nineteenth-Century Decorative Arts (6/24/03)

In Arthur Wesley Dow and American Arts & Crafts (3/3/00) learn how throughout his lifetime, Dow developed a personal style that assimilated the influences of Japonisme, synthesism, and Impressionism. His work is distinctive in its simplification of colorful forms that read as flat shapes on the two-dimensional surface. The exhibition demonstrates the development of this style, and how it influenced the work of others.

Arthur Wesley Dow and American Arts & Crafts (6/21/99)

Art for Everyday Living: The American Arts and Crafts Movement, 1890-1920 (4/10/99)


From other websites:

Arts & Crafts movement, from the Morse Museum. Accessed May, 2014 The Arts and Crafts Movement in America, a thematic essay by Monica Obniski, Independent Scholar, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed July, 2015.

"The Arts and Crafts Movement in America" is a 2008 essay by Monica Obinski posted by The Metropolitan Musuem of Art. Accessed 11/16

A Spirit of Simplicity: American Arts and Crafts from the Two Red Roses Foundation, an exhibit held October 6, 2009 - January 3, 2010 at the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. Note: This website does not provide URLs for past exhibits. Accessed October, 2014

Byrdcliffe: An American Arts and Crafts Community from Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University. Includes online exhibition. Accessed May, 2014

Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement, an exhibit held 2/13/11 - 5/8/11 at Dallas Museum of Art. Includes gallery photos. Accessed 9/14.

"The Arts and Crafts Movement in America" by Mary Dutton Boehm, from The Journal of San Diego History, Summer 1990, Volume 36, Numbers 2 & 3. Accessed May, 2014

The Virtues of Simplicity - American Arts and Crafts from the Morse Collection was an exhibit held February 17, 2009 through January 13, 2013 at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The museum says: "This exhibition features more than 50 decorative objects, including Craftsman furnishings purchased for Osceola Lodge from Gustav Stickley, the influential figure who established his companies in New York but who began his career with Tobey in Chicago. Other highlights include a rare Stickley appliquéd curtain on Craftsman canvas, c. 1910, which has never been exhibited, and metalware and lamps from the Roycrofters and a number of other American makers that are not often on view." Includes Exhibition Object Guide (PDF), Family Guide (PDF), Highlights. Accessed July, 2014.

Well Crafted, an exhibit held October 12, 2012- May 5, 2013 at Burchfield - Penney Art Center. Includes curator's essay on the Arts and Crafts Movement. Accessed May, 2014

WKSU/Kent State University: Arts & Crafts Movement in Europe and America 1880-1920 at Cleveland Museum of Art, reported by WKSU's Mark Urycki on October 19, 2005. Accessed May, 2014


TFAO also suggests these videos:


American Craft Museum (now Museum of Arts and Design) is a VHS 10-video series from Crystal Productions which says: "This video series illustrates diverse examples of creativity and provides students with a broad exposure to the potential in each medium. The works of hundreds of outstanding artists also motivates students and offers a foundation for their own work. The images are from the exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Design, formerly the American Craft Museum. The 10 videos in the series include:
Functional Pottery
Contemporary Clay: Diverse Soup Tureens
Contemporary Ceramics
Contemporary Ceramic Teapots
Clay Figures, Animals, and Landscapes
Papermaking USA and the Handmade Paper Book
Jewelry USA
Fiber Coiled Basketry
Masks and Face Coverings
American Style: The Arts and Crafts Movement: 15 minutes 1988. "The Arts and Crafts Movement in America began in the 1860s as a response to the poor quality and design of machine-made, mass-produced household items. Intended for both beginning and advanced collectors, this video is hosted by D. J. Puffert, a California dealer and collector, owner of the Arts and Crafts Shop in Sausalito, California. Puffert summarizes the history of the period and profiles major figures such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, whose creations made this the most significant movement in American design at the turn of the century " quotes are from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts or the National Gallery of Art.
Craft in America. This 2007 DVD from PBS Home Video includes 3 episodes: Memory, Landscape, and Community, shown in widescreen (16x9 aspect ratio). 180 minutes on 1 disc. PBS says: "This program explores the history and significance of the craft movement in the United States and its impact on the nation's cultural heritage. "Memory" focuses on the historical relevance of craft through the eyes of several contemporary pioneers in the field. "Landscape" examines the interdependent relationship of craft artists to their media and the natural world. "Community," highlights the social and emotional connections that crafts embody."
Crafting an American Style is a 60 minute DVD from Crystal Productions which says: "Explore the beauty of handmade American crafts by examining the history of the American Arts and Crafts movement from 1900 to the present." Also available on VHS.






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