Design & History: Part 2

An online course presented by The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms.
With Instructor, Dr. Jonathan Clancy, Director of Collections and Preservation.

9 NEW Sessions  |  $25/session | Location: Zoom Online Classroom

Saturdays at 1:00 PM EST | March 27 – May 22, 2021


Design & History: The Past is Always Present
COURSE OVERVIEW

Writing in 1841, Ralph Waldo Emerson recorded one of the immutable laws of the creative process: “the new in art is always formed out of the old.”  So while the Arts and Crafts movement appeared to be a new direction in design, it was indebted to the precedents of our collective past, the shared history of design that was understood amongst its manufacturers, designers, and fiercest advocates.  This series seeks to recapture those precedents, not to dilute the importance of the movement, but to better understand it, to wrap it properly in the context of the histories from which it emerged so that its contributions – and the meanings which these objects held to contemporaries – become clearer.  Explored in this manner, design is not only practical, but metaphorical, lyrical, and poetic.  It speaks to us in the hushed and reverent tones of our shared experiences if we can learn to listen to and discern those muted murmurs.  


Registration is required. Once registered and paid, you will receive an email prior to each session with a link to join.

Do you have a scheduling conflict for the live session? You can still enjoy the program. Register and we’ll send you the recording! All paid attendees will be emailed a private link to the session recording when it is available.

Missed us? You can also register retroactively. If you register for a session that has passed, you’ll recieve access to the recording when it is ready.

Haven’t tried a session yet? Each session is planned as a “stand-alone” lecture, so you can take them all or attend the topics that interest you most.



SCHEDULE: PART 2

1Sat., Mar. 27A More Muscular Classicism: The Western World in the Early 19th Century
At the end of the 18th century, when Europe was consumed by a delicate neoclassicism that presented an austere sense of order in contrast to the sinewy, riotous curves of the Rococo, new ideas were afoot…. READ MORE
REGISTER
2Sat., Apr. 3Egypt and Egyptomania
Following Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt at the turn of the nineteenth century, Western decorative arts experienced their first profound wave of Egypto-mania, relishing in the exoticism of a distant past and mystical land… READ MORE
REGISTER
3Sat., Apr. 10Greek Arts and The Greek Revival
While the discoveries of Pompeii and Herculaneum captured the imagination of 18th century designers, a quiet revolution was brewing, one that would look back further in antiquity to prize the quiet grandeur of all things Greek… READ MORE
REGISTER
4Sat., Apr. 17Romanesque, the Romanesque Revival and Henry Hobson Richardson
Eschewing the fancy marbles and high-style of the Greek Revival and other classicisms, Henry Hobson Richardson created an alternate type of historicism in the late 19th century that preserved the grand scale of those other styles but spoke to the rustic handwork that was increasingly prevalent… READ MORE
REGISTER
5Sat., Apr. 24Pugin and the 1851 Crystal Palace Exposition
While the 19th century was marked by an exuberance for technological advancements, there was still more than enough anxiety about the changing world to go around…. READ MORE
REGISTER
6Sat., May 1Charles Eastlake and Design Reform in the Late 19th Century
It is difficult to underestimate the impact of Charles Eastlake’s Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and Other Details published in England in 1868, then in the United Sates in 1872… READ MORE
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7Sat., May 8Classical Splendor in the Modern World: The White City and the Columbian Exposition
In the same decade we witnessed the rise of the Arts and Crafts, the Prairie School, Colonial Revival, and Art Nouveau movements, Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 saw “the White City” emerge from the shores of Lake Michigan to transform American civic design… READ MORE
REGISTER
8Sat., May 15American Excess: Wealth and Taste in the Late 19th Century
At the end of the 19th century, a few citizens of the United States saw a rise in wealth that had previously been the exclusive purview of the nobility… READ MORE
REGISTER
9Sat., May 22Technology and the Transformation of the Home
In the same way we witnessed how new foods transformed culture in the last series, technology transformed the social structure of the home throughout the 19th century… READ MORE
REGISTER

CLASS DESCRIPTIONS


Week 1: Sat., March 27
A More Muscular Classicism: The Western World in the Early 19th Century

REGISTER

At the end of the 18th century, when Europe was consumed by a delicate neoclassicism that presented an austere sense of order in contrast to the sinewy, riotous curves of the Rococo, new ideas were afoot. Gradually, the delicacy of the late-eighteenth century gave way to a classicism that was bold, muscular, and imposing. Known by different names throughout Europe and the United States, the Empire or Biedermeier style took the vocabulary–the building blocks–of classicism and reconfigured them into a distinctly different approach to design that shaped design over the following decades.

Image: Fall Front Desk (Vienna), ca. 1810. Various woods and gilt bronze. Art Institute of Chicago.


Week 2: Sat., April 3
Egypt and Egyptomania

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Following Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt at the turn of the nineteenth century, Western decorative arts experienced their first profound wave of Egypto-mania, relishing in the exoticism of a distant past and mystical land. Pyramids, sphinxes, and papyrus leaves began to appear on designs on furniture, ceramics, and architecture across Europe and the United States, fueled by scientific exploration and the publication of findings. By the 1820s, scholars had begun to decipher the Rosetta Stone, which made a past that had been previously lost to time suddenly decipherable. This session explores the aesthetics of Egyptian art and architecture that Europeans encountered, and examines how these impacted design and decoration in the 19th century, from Wedgwood to the Herter Brothers.


Week 3: Sat., April 10
Greek Arts and The Greek Revival

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While the discoveries of Pompeii and Herculaneum captured the imagination of 18th century designers, a quiet revolution was brewing, one that would look back further in antiquity to prize the quiet grandeur of all things Greek to the excessive exuberance of Roman design. In this session, we move again in two directions: back to the Greeks to understand the essential aesthetics that shaped their particular contributions to Western art history, and into the 19th century where a revival of these ideas spurred advancements in architecture and design in Europe and the Americas. By looking closely at Greek art and architecture, we’ll see another side of the many classicisms that were available to 19th century designers and witness how these masterpieces of antiquity were updated for modern life.


Week 4: Sat., April 17
Romanesque, the Romanesque Revival and Henry Hobson Richardson

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Eschewing the fancy marbles and high-style of the Greek Revival and other classicisms, Henry Hobson Richardson created an alternate type of historicism in the late 19th century that preserved the grand scale of those other styles but spoke to the rustic handwork that was increasingly prevalent. Known today as Richardson Romanesque–and perfectly illustrated by his masterwork Trinity Church in Boston–Richardson drew upon European architecture of the pre-Gothic period to create his bold vision. This session will explore not only the major works of this style in depth, but look too at the origins of this movement–the Romanesque period–to better understand the aesthetic Richardson helped shape by looking at what he preserved and ignored from our collective past. 


Week 5: Sat., April 24
Pugin and the 1851 Crystal Palace Exposition

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While the 19th century was marked by an exuberance for technological advancements, there was still more than enough anxiety about the changing world to go around. As the first World’s Fair celebrated humanity’s progress, it was marked too by the desire to return to the simplicity of the middle ages most forcibly stated by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin’s Medieval court exhibited in the Crystal Palace. This session explores the critique of modernity that flourished in the wake of this exhibition covering such well-known names as John Ruskin and William Morris, but giving proper credit to Pugin whose 1836 publication of Contrasts in 1836 would set the stage for the medievalizing fantasies of subsequent design reformers and critics of modernity.


Week 6: Sat., May 1
Charles Eastlake and Design Reform in the Late 19th Century

REGISTER

It is difficult to underestimate the impact of Charles Eastlake’s Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and Other Details published in England in 1868, then in the United Sates in 1872. With a focus on the middle class as opposed to the monied elite, Eastlake’s influence was immediately felt through attractive furniture that he claimed could be mass-produced “as cheap as that [furniture] which is ugly.” In the United States, where his book underwent six printings, his ideas impacted furniture design, architecture, and came to epitomize what we think of as “Victorian” today. And yet, a close reading of Eastlake reveals not the polar opposite of the Arts and Crafts movements as we sometimes think, but surprising through lines and connections.


Week 7: Sat., May 8
Classical Splendor in the Modern World: The White City and the Columbian Exposition

REGISTER

In the same decade we witnessed the rise of the Arts and Crafts, the Prairie School, Colonial Revival, and Art Nouveau movements, Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 saw “the White City” emerge from the shores of Lake Michigan to transform American civic design and help spur the City Beautiful movement. If the late 19th century saw an increase in the speed with which change occurred and styles changed, Classicism provided a sense of stability and permanence. Bringing together luminaries like Frederick Law Olmsted, Lorado Taft, and Daniel Burnham the Exposition’s aesthetic–with the notable exception of Louis Sullivan’s Transportation building–relied upon the precedents taught at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in the late 19th century.


Week 8: Sat., May 15
American Excess: Wealth and Taste in the Late 19th Century

REGISTER

At the end of the 19th century, a few citizens of the United States saw a rise in wealth that had previously been the exclusive purview of the nobility. If it was the peculiar circumstances of the American experiment that gave rise to their wealth, it is clear–in hindsight–that their notions of taste were rooted in old world ideas of class, culture, and wealth. This session examines the homes and collections of Isabella Stewart Gardner, Andrew Carnegie, the Vanderbilts, and others to explore how their aesthetics developed and how they continue to impact our understanding of art and architecture today.


Week 9: Sat., May 22
Technology and the Transformation of the Home

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In the same way we witnessed how new foods transformed culture in the last series, technology transformed the social structure of the home throughout the 19th century. Advances in lighting, heating, mechanical inventions, and refrigeration throughout this period changed the way we ate, socialized, and used the home. Rather than something fixed, culture–it turns out–is a curious arrangement of pre-existing conditions that is continuously reshaped by the manner in which we assimilate new ideas, new people, and new inventions. It is a reminder too that there is no “American” culture, but rather a series of cultures that simultaneously exist broadly, locally, and always in a constant state of flux.


Dr. Jonathan Clancy is the Director of Collections and Preservation at the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms. An author, educator, and curator Clancy received his doctorate in art history in 2008 from the Graduate Center. Formerly Director of the MA in American Fine and Decorative Arts program at Sotheby’s, he left in 2017 to form an advisory group. As an independent consultant, he has worked with private clients and institutions on collection management, exhibition planning, label writing and research, and valuation.


Craftsman Farms, the former home of noted designer Gustav Stickley, is owned by the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills and is operated by The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, Inc., (“SMCF”) (formerly known as The Craftsman Farms Foundation, Inc.). SMCF is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in the State of New Jersey. Restoration of the National Historic Landmark, Craftsman Farms, is made possible, in part, by a Save America’s Treasures Grant administered by the National Parks Service, Department of the Interior, and by support from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust, The New Jersey Historic Trust, and individual donors. SMCF received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State and a grant from the New Jersey Arts & Culture Recovery Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation. Educational programs are funded, in part, by grants from the Arts & Crafts Research Fund.