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Toward a Simpler Way of Life: The Arts and Crafts Architects of California / Edition 1

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This book celebrates one of the richest and most enduring themes in American architecture—California's Arts and Crafts Movement. Echoing the writings of Helen Hunt Jackson, Charles F. Lummis, and Charles Keeler, this movement represented a retreat into a quieter place from the materialism of American society. Anti-commercial, anti-modern, Arts and Crafts practitioners drew on the decorative schemes of English Tudor, Swiss chalet, Japanese temple, and Spanish mission, evoking an earlier time before modern industry and technology intruded. And if only one word is used to describe virtually every Arts and Crafts house in California, that word is "woodsy": wood shingles outside, wood paneling inside, a wood fire burning in the homey, welcoming fireplace.

Most chapters in this impressive and very readable book focus on one building by a particular architect or designer and illustrate that person's development and influences. Familiar architects such as Bernard Maybeck, Charles and Henry Greene, John Galen Howard, and Julia Morgan are here, but so too are less well-known names who were a vibrant part of the Arts and Crafts Movement. These late Romantics designed houses to complement nature rather than contrast with it. Their eclecticism and historicism reflected a Romantic bent as well, no doubt cultivated by their familiarity with the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where, in fact, Howard, Maybeck, and Morgan studied.

The book's contributors also give attention to the builders, contractors, and craftsmen whose skills contributed to the lasting impact of the California Arts and Crafts Movement. Superb illustrations provide examples of elevations, composition details, interior fixtures, and gardens, all designed to promote the "simple living and high thinking" of the Craftsman style, an esthetic that continues to influence architecture today.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two excellent books are joined spiritually as they explore the Arts & Crafts movement's quest for a retreat from the materialism of the Gilded Age as manifested on different sides of the continent. Inspiring Reform is an exhibition catalog from the Davis Museum and Cultural Center's centenary celebration of Boston's Society of Arts & Crafts, which sponsored the earliest exhibition of Arts & Crafts pieces in America in 1897. The Davis exhibit, which will also be at the Smithsonian, covers the years 1890-1930 and features 150 examples of furniture, ceramics, metalware, book art, prints, and very unique photography. More than 230 illustrations40 in coloracccompany the catalog's ten essays, all written by specialists in the field. Another essay collection, Toward a Simpler Way of Life, focuses on the variety of styles of Arts & Crafts structures found in California. In their drive toward the anticommercial, the practitioners drew on the decorative schemes of English Tudor, Swiss Chalet, Japanese Temple, and Spanish Mission styles to evoke an earlier, preindustrial time. As expected, Bernard Maybeck, the Greene Brothers, and Julia Morgan are here, but so are many talented, lesser-known designers. The knowledgeable essays also give due attention to the builders, contractors, and artisans who contributed so much. The book will have a bounty of 365 period duotone photos, not seen by the reviewer. Important studies of this perennially popular style, both works are highly recommended for all art and architecture collections.Joseph C. Hewgley, Nashville P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520209169
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 302
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Winter is Arthur G. Coons Professor of the History of Ideas, Emeritus, at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He is the author of The California Bungalow (1980), American Bungalow Style (1996), and coauthor of A Guide to Architecture in San Francisco and Northern California (1985) and Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide (1994).

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Myth of California Expressed in Arts and Crafts Theory 1
The First Generation 7
A. C. Schweinfurth 11
Ernest Coxhead 23
John Galen Howard 31
Louis Christian Mullgardt 41
Bernard Maybeck 51
Julia Morgan 63
Henry Gutterson 73
John Hudson Thomas 83
William Raymond Yelland 93
Francis T. Underhill 103
Frederick Louis Roehrig 111
Charles and Henry Greene 123
Arthur S. and Alfred Heineman 137
Louis B. Easton 149
Elmer Grey 159
Sylvanus B. Marston 169
Sumner P. Hunt 181
Arthur B. Benton 191
Irving J. Gill 201
Emmor Brooke Weaver 209
Hazel Wood Waterman 219
Frank Mead and Richard Requa 229
The Second Generation 241
William W. Wurster 245
Charles Warren Callister 255
Joseph Esherick 265
Harwell H. Harris 275
Cliff May 283
Calvin Straub Buff, Straub, and Hensman 291
Selected Bibliography and Archives 301
Authors 303
Reproduction Credits 305
Index 307
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