The Well-Crafted Legacy of the Stickley Family
by Amanda Clifford
Editor’s note: to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the Stickley Museum in Fayetteville, NY (formerly the L. & J.G. Stickley factory), we’re giving director Amanda Clifford this space to tell us about the new addition to the museum which reveals the history of the furniture giants, the Stickley family: Leopold, John George, and of course, Gustav. Their exhibition, “A Well-Crafted Legacy,” features the works of the iconic family and shows the influence of the Stickley name in the world of American furniture.
Like many smaller museums with a specific focus, our existence may surprise some while others consider us a hidden gem. The Stickley Museum, located in Fayetteville, New York, is a corporate collection which explores the history, philosophy, technology, and people behind Stickley furniture.
Our exhibition, A Well-Crafted Legacy, showcases the works of company founders Leopold and John George Stickley and the contributions of older brother Gustav Stickley. The earliest pieces predate the Arts and Crafts era and are important in understanding why Gustav Stickley’s “New Furniture” was indeed a revolutionary concept. His work was not based on aesthetics alone but influenced by a social movement that stressed craftsmanship and worker satisfaction.
Above: Chairs and Desk in the Stickley Co. Exhibit “A Well-Crafted Legacy” at the Fayetteville Stickley Museum. Below (Left): A Stickley Rocking Chair. Below (Right): Bombe Chest as featured in the Stickley Museum.
This readership is aware of Gustav Stickley’s contributions to the Arts and Crafts Movement, and while the museum features key pieces from the period, the story continues into the colonial revival era which sought American characteristics independent of European influence. Leopold Stickley began collecting examples of our regional style that were echoed in pieces from what would become the Cherry Valley Collection—a line of furniture that was to remain popular for decades.
The museum tells the story of the Stickley brothers’ contributions to furniture manufacturing and to American culture. The story could have ended as the company encountered difficulties in the early 1970s, but this is where another family becomes involved. E.J. Audi was the largest distributor of Stickley furniture, and his son Alfred was familiar with its quality and craftsmanship. It was Alfred and Aminy Audi who, as a couple, worked diligently to revive the factory.
The Stickley story continues with highlights from the reintroduction of the Mission collection, a collaboration with Colonial Williamsburg, and works from the present day.
The Stickley Museum is located on the second floor of our former factory in what was the finishing room. Our current hours are Tuesdays 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Saturdays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. For additional information, please contact us at 315-682-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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