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Table lamp

Table lamp (c. 1910), made by the Apollo Studios, New York [Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, Spokane WA, through Jun 26]

The Arts & Crafts Movement in the Pacific Northwest

Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture
Spokane WA – through Jun 26, 2010

Lustreware Decanter

Lustreware Decanter, American, Museum Collection (Davenport Collection) [Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture, Spokane WA, through Jun 26]

The Arts and Crafts Movement originated in Victorian England as a response to ornate style and a reaction to the rise of poor quality consumer goods. Artist and writer William Morris, one of the founders of the late 19th century design movement, spread the ethos of pride in craftsmanship, truth in materials, and living with beautifully crafted domestic designs, both weather-functional and decorative.

In America these ideals spread and evolved, with the addition of unique influences from Native American and Spanish Colonial designs from California and the Southwest. The Arts and Crafts philosophy flourished in the Pacific Northwest in the first decade of the 20th century and well into the 1920s, as can be seen by architecture of the period prevalent in many neighbourhoods in Portland and Seattle.

This major travelling exhibition includes characteristic furniture, metalwork, ceramics, textiles, stained glass, photography, graphics, illustrations and more. Immaculate pieces such as an elegant and utilitarian sterling silver water pitcher and a table lamp with fine intricate cut-out patterning are quintessential examples of American-made wares that were represented in shops and department stores in Northwest cities. Hundreds of objects, prints and documentations embrace the spirit and grace of the movement’s design reform in the context of regional identity.

The exhibition is largely based on a significant book of the same name (Timber Press, Portland, 2007), which was written by the exhibition co-curators Lawrence Kreisman, program director of Historic Seattle, and Glenn Mason, former director of what is now the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture and current co-owner of Cultural Images, a museum and historical society consulting firm.

Allyn Cantor

 Tue, Apr 6, 2010