Curating the West Coast
April showers bring May flowers and, in the Arts and Crafts community, May also brings the closing of several fine art exhibitions on the West Coast. Scroll through the information below and make note that all of the exhibitions below close during the month of May. Be sure to pay them a visit sooner rather than later and, if you do, share photos of your visit on our Facebook page so our readers across the country can enjoy!
1900: Adornment for the Home and Body — The Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA — Closes May 3rd
Drawing on the collection of Seattle residents Wayne Dodge and Lawrence Kreisman, the Frye Art Museum is pleased to present 1900: Adornment for the Home and Body. With over 200 objects by artists, artisans, and architects of the fin de siècle, the exhibition presents a microcosm of the extraordinary richness of artistic production in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
In his influential text The Artwork of the Future (1849), composer Richard Wagner urged artists of his day to pursue the Gesamtkunstwerk, or “great United Art-work, which must gather up each branch of art.” Wagner wrote that the artistic man and the architect should build an “artistic edifice which should answer to their art in worthy manner.” European and American artists answered his call with their own visions of a total work of art that embraced all aspects of everyday life. In Britain, the Arts and Crafts movement flourished between 1880 and 1910. In Germany, the artists of the Munich Secession, as well as those associated with Jugendstil and the journal Jugend, transformed the architecture, interior design, forms of dress, and jewelry of the day, as did the artists of the Vienna Secession in Austria. In France and Belgium, the natural world inspired organic designs of great beauty, and in the United States, designers sought honest and simple forms in furniture and applied arts.
The exhibition also includes key paintings from the Frye Founding Collection including artists such as Hugo von Habermann and Franz von Stuck, founding members of the Munich Secession. For more information, visit www.fryemuseum.org.
The Nature of William S. Rice: Arts and Crafts Painter & Printmaker — The Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA — Closes May 17th
This exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the private world of William S. Rice (1873–1963), an artist and naturalist known for his ability to distill nature to its simplest forms.
Rice was a prolific painter of the California landscape but is today better known as a printmaker, one who authored two books on the process and executed every print himself. He applied the classic Japanese art of ukiyo-e (woodblock printing, or “pictures of the floating world”) to images of the West, where he moved in 1900. This exhibition brings to light many of the artist’s accomplishments, including several never-before-exhibited pieces capturing the California landscape before development. For more information, visit www.crockerartmuseum.org.
Of Cottages & Castles: The Art of California Faience — The Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA — Closes May 17th
William Bragdon was a ceramic engineer trained at Alfred University in New York. He moved to Berkeley in 1915 to teach at the California School of Arts and Crafts and shortly thereafter formed a partnership with his Alfred University classmate Chauncey Thomas, then running a Berkeley pottery studio. Together they created decorative tiles, vases, and sculpture, calling their wares California Faience. The most prestigious of the company’s projects came in the 1920s when architect Julia Morgan commissioned a complete environment of tiles for William Randolph Hearst’s palatial home and grounds in San Simeon.
Of Cottages and Castles presents the full range of the company’s accomplishments, with an emphasis on decorative pieces emblematic of Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, and Moderne styles, as well as tiles made for Hearst Castle.
This exhibition made possible in part by a grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. For more information, visit www.crockerartmuseum.org.
Top photo courtesy of the Frye Art Museum (Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik (WMF), Geislingen an der Steige, Germany. Centerpiece, ca. 1905. Silverplate. Collection of Wayne Dodge and Lawrence Kreisman.)
Bottom photo courtesy of the Crocker Art Museum. (William S. Rice, “Bert’s Iris”, ca. 1920. Block print, 12 x 9 inches. Collection of Roberta Rice Treseder. © Ellen Treseder Sexauer.)