Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement

  • NEWARK, New Jersey
  • /
  • September 08, 2010

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Gustav Stickley, (Five-light) electrolier No. 233 designed c. 1904. Iron, copper, glass. Crab Tree Farm.
Newark Museum

Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement, organized by the Dallas Museum of Art and nationally premiering at the Newark Museum, is the first exhibition to focus on the career of one of the most influential figures to arise within the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States in the early 20th century. 

The nationally touring exhibition will examine the Gustav Stickley’s contributions to the American Arts and Crafts movement during his most productive and influential period, from 1900-1913.  Ranging from furniture, metalware, lighting, textiles, and architectural plans, the majority of the objects on view are from private collections and has never been seen before by the public.

Gustav Stickley was a tastemaker, a publisher, and a manufacturer.  The home furnishings, house designs and interior decoration that he promoted, produced and lived with embodied his progressive vision of design, which rejected the conspicuous consumption of the Victorian era and embraced the concept of an honest and beautiful simplicity in shaping the ideal American home.

Inspired by the legacy of 19th-century English design reformers such as John Ruskin and William Morris, the Arts and Crafts movement sought to elevate the notion of “good design” and to promote the revival of craft as a potent means for personal and societal betterment.  In the United States, Stickley forged a successful commercial enterprise in which his own firm’s products were linked to the precepts of the movement and promoted as key to the creation of the ideal American home and its associated way of life.

With simple lines and evident construction techniques emphasizing the craft of their makers, Stickley’s products evoked a romantic, pre-industrial world while simultaneously embracing a progressive, distinctly American style.  Both modern and inherently nostalgic, his firm’s works drew upon traditional symbols of family, hearth and home.

The exhibition will include more than 100 of the most important works by Stickley’s designers and workshops.  A fully illustrated catalogue 272-page catalogue, published by the Dallas Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press, will accompany the exhibition.  The catalogue is available for purchase through the Museum Shop.

Sideboard designed c. 1902, executed c. 1908, Gustav Stickley (American, 1858-1942) Craftsman Workshops (American, c. 1903-1916), manufacturer, Eastwood, New York. Oak, plywood, iron. Crab Tree Farm.
Newark Museum

Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement is organized by the Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Henry Luce Foundation.  Additional support is provided by Dallas Museum of Art’s patrons and supporters with funds raised through Silver Supper, 2010.  Publication of the exhibition catalogue is underwritten by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Windgate Charitable Foundation.

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