Magazine article Sunset

The Arts and Crafts Movement Returns to Southern California

Magazine article Sunset

The Arts and Crafts Movement Returns to Southern California

Article excerpt

"The West has for some time been recording on the fair page of the Pacific Slope what promises to be an important chapter in the life of the people." In 1912, when this comment appeared in an article about Pasadena architects Charles and Henry Greene, the Arts and Crafts Movement was riding high in Southern California. Now you can immerse yourself in this remarkable era, whose ideals influenced the look of houses in California and across the country from the turn of the century until the early 1920s. At the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, two new rooms feature the work of Greene and Greene. A major exhibition of arts and crafts objects is now open at the L.A. County Museum of Art, and the living room of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Park has just been restored. With roots in Europe in the late 19th century, the Arts and Crafts Movement began as a reaction against what many viewed as declining standards of design, as machines began producing objects formerly made by hand. Part of the utopian vision of leaders like British artist and writer William Morris were a return to hand craftsmanship and a life in harmony with nature. Proponents favored natural materials like wood and stone, and naturalistic designs in decorative objects. Reflecting those ideals, the Greene brothers created their first simple Craftsman houses in about 1903, then went on to build more elaborate ones. The most famous of these, the Gamble house in Pasadena, is still a landmark. In Los Angeles, the house of journalist Charles E Lummis is in the Arts and Crafts tradition. Both are open to visitors.

A new installation at the Huntington Two new rooms devoted to the work of Greene and Greene are scheduled to open September 11 in the Huntington's Virginia Steele Scott Gallery. One is a completely reconstructed dining room (with the original furnishings) from the 1905 Robinson house in Pasadena. The other contains about 75 decorative objects, including tables, chairs, lamps, and rugs by the Greenes and their contemporaries. The exhibit shows how the Greenes' work evolved, influenced by such diverse sources as Japanese

wood-block prints and Gustav Stickley (American furniture designer and manufacturer who helped popularize the Craftsman bungalow). Huntington hours are 1 to 4:30 Tuesdays through Sundays. In the same building, the Greene and Greene Library houses original drawings; it's open by appointment only; call (818) 405-2225. …

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