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Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago
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Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago

by Judith A. Barter (Editor), Sarah Kelly Oehler (Contribution by), Brandon K. Ruud (Contribution by), Monica Obniski (Contribution by), Ellen E. Roberts (Contribution by)
 

The Arts and Crafts movement in architecture, interior design, and decorative arts reached its peak between 1880 and 1910 in Britain and North America. The movement’s emphasis on aesthetic quality and a high level of craftsmanship, promoted as an antidote to the ubiquity and uninspired appearance of machine-produced products, remains much admired today. Arts

Overview

The Arts and Crafts movement in architecture, interior design, and decorative arts reached its peak between 1880 and 1910 in Britain and North America. The movement’s emphasis on aesthetic quality and a high level of craftsmanship, promoted as an antidote to the ubiquity and uninspired appearance of machine-produced products, remains much admired today. Arts and Crafts enjoyed special resonance in Chicago, the home of Jane Addams’s Hull House, where immigrants and women received training in handicraft skills not only to beautify domestic life but also to provide them with viable, honorable work.

 

Apostles of Beauty presents outstanding examples by the movement’s British originators, such as William Morris and Charles Robert Ashbee, as well as its greatest American practitioners, such as Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright. The volume highlights a wide range of objects, including ceramics, furniture, metalwork, paintings, photographs, and textiles. It focuses on Chicago’s absorption and interpretation of the movement, featuring works from the Art Institute, the University of Chicago, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Crab Tree Farm, and private collections. Contributors to the book explore the complex influences of the Arts and Crafts style and provide a thematic history of the movement, including a section on design and collecting in Chicago.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Intended as a catalog for an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, this is a beautiful album of illustrations of objects associated with the Arts and Crafts movement and a vehicle for five scholars to discuss their views on the movement. It's a bit like a horse trying to jump three different fences at the same time. Taken piece by piece, the book has wonderful photos, engaging writing, and solid research, but just wrapping all of this in an elegant dust jacket doesn't make it a coherent whole. If readers are familiar with the philosophy of the Arts and Crafts movement, the volume will add much interesting material—particularly in the long essay by Sarah E. Kelley on photography—but this is neither a step-by-step history of Arts and Crafts nor an all-encompassing visual album of the full range of Arts and Crafts artists and artisans on both sides of the Atlantic. Editor Barter is the Field-McCormick chair and curator of American art at the Art Institute of Chicago. VERDICT Best to consider this a fine supplement to other more general histories and as a record of a specific exhibition of top-rate Arts and Crafts objects.—David McClelland, Philadelphia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300141139
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
12/01/2009
Pages:
207
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 12.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Judith A. Barter is the Field-McCormick Chair and Curator of American Art; Sarah E. Kelly is the Henry and Gilda Buchbinder Family Associate Curator of American Art ; Ellen E. Roberts is Assistant Curator of American Art; Brandon K. Ruud is Assistant Research Curator of American Art; and Monica Obniski is a Research and Exhibition Assistant in the Department of American Art, all at the Art Institute of Chicago.

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