Learning About “The Decorative Impulse” & An Arts & Crafts Auction

by Kate Nixon


The virtual classroom and an virtual Arts and Auction auction will be open this Saturday for interested Arts and Crafts collectors and enthusiasts. The latter comes from Alameda, California’s AC Stickley as they bring unique Arts and Crafts works online to bidders all over the country. Before the auction, interested collectors can learn about “The Decorative Impulse and the Arts and Crafts.”


* Tall-back Chair, ca. 1898-99. Charles Rohlfs. Oak. Photo by Gavin Ashworth, image courtesy of Princeton University Art Museum. * “Modern Steel Carving.” Frank L. Koralewsky. Steel. Image courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. * Chest. Karl von Rydingsvärd . White oak and wrought iron. Image courtesy of americandecorativeart.com


Tortured by Exaggerated Lines”: The Decorative Impulse and the Arts and Crafts – September, Sept. 26th 10 AM PDT (1 PM EST)

Photo: Lock, Iron with inlays of gold, silver, bronze, and copper on wood base, Inscriptions: “Fkoralewsky” on iron surface; “FK” inlaid in copper, Dimensions: 50.8 × 50.8 × 20.3 cm (20 × 20 × 8 in.), Frank L. Koralewsky, 1911, American, Art Institute of Chicago

This Saturday, The Stickley Museum presents the third and last session of the course “The Creative Spark” where heavily decorated and carved iron, furniture, and painting works with a gothic influence are under the spotlight. Join instructor Jonathan Clancy and Executive Director Vonda Givens for “Tortured by Exaggerated Lines”: The Decorative Impulse and the Arts and Crafts, the latest session exploring styles of decoration of the Arts and Crafts Movement.

In the opening issue of The Craftsman, Stickley informed readers: “We are no longer tortured by exaggerated lines the reasons for which are past divining. We have not to deal with falsifying veneers, or with disfiguring so-called ornament. We are, first of all, met by plain shapes which not only declare, but emphasize their purpose.” But perhaps he spoke too soon–or only for himself. Despite protestations to the contrary, many in the Arts and Crafts movement reveled in tortured and exaggerated lines, disfiguring ornament, and ornament in many mediums. From the heavily carved furniture of Karl von Rydingsvärd and Charles Rohlfs, to the iron work of Frank Koralewsky, to the painted work of Arthur and Lucia Matthews, the movement was not only the restrained and staid vision that Stickley often promoted in the Craftsman, but included diverse and enthusiastically contradictory set of practitioners who celebrated the decorative impulse.

You can sign up for the class here on the Stickley Museum’s website


AC Stickley Arts and Crafts Auction – Saturday, Sept. 26th 11 AM PDT (2 PM EST)

This Saturday, AC Stickley presents an Arts and Crafts auction featuring furniture by Gustav Stickley, L&JG Stickley, Stickley Brothers, Charles Stickley, Limbert, Roycroft, Lifetime, Lakeside, JM Young, Mathews Furniture Shop, Bernard Maybeck, Karpen, Harden, Michigan Chair Co, and McHugh.

To view all lots in the auction and to register to bid online, you can click HERE to see AC Stickley’s own auction page.

Here are some lots that we picked out that we’ll be keeping our eyes on during the auction:


Lot #16: Rare Brush McCoy King Tut Vase

Circa 1923
Unsigned. Perfect condition.
Measures 4″h x 4.5″d.

Estimate: $1,200 – $1,500





Lot #30: JM Young Furniture Co Morris Chair

Circa 1910

Unsigned. Excellent original finish. Very sturdy.

Measures 42″h x 30.25″w x 32″d.

Estimate: $900 – $1,200




Lot #38: Elizabeth Burton Ornamental Leather-Work Pillow

Circa 1905

Unsigned. Excellent original condition. Burton filed a patent for this process in 1900 and was awarded the patent April 25, 1905.

Measures 22″d.

Estimate: $1,500 – $2,000




Lot #46: Grueby Pottery Matte Pink Vase

Circa 1905

A very crisp example of a very rare color. Signed. Invisible professional restoration to rim chips.

Measures 7.5″h x 4.5″d.

Estimate: $1,500 – $2,000




Lot #70: Gustav Stickley #814 Strap-Hinge Sideboard

Circa 1910

Signed. Excellent original finish. Exquisite example of this classic form.

Measures 66″w x 48″h x 23″d.

Estimate: $4,500 – $5,500



Lot #98: Albert Berry Alaska Artisans Hammered Copper Tray

Circa 1910

Made in Juneau, Alaska before Berry moved to Seattle in 1918. One of the best Albert Berry pieces to come to market in several years. Signed. Excellent original patina.

Measures 9.5″d x 1.75″h.

Estimate: $6,000 – $8,000




Lot #137: Rookwood Jeweled Porcelain Floral Vase from Elizabeth Barrett


Signed. Perfect condition.

Measures 8.25″h x 3.25″d.

Estimate: $750 – $950





All descriptions and images courtesy of AcStickley.com