American Arts & Crafts from the Collection of Alexandra and Sidney Sheldon
Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, California
104 pages, 98 illustrations, softcover with a hardcover case - $55
Rooted in the social and aesthetic theories of John Ruskin and William Morris, the Arts and Crafts Movement announced that the integrity of design and craftsmanship were the basis of all good art. The stylistic basis of Arts and Crafts painting originated from the simplified, flat compositions of Japanese woodcuts and bold color of the French Post-Impressionists. Harvey Ellis, a designer for Gustav Stickley was among those purists of the Movement who banned paintings from the interior because of their “stigma” as fine art rather than craft. While traditional paintings were often denied entry into proper craftsman dwellings, pictorial imagery found expression in pottery. Some Rockwood and Newcomb pottery was decorated with Landscapes and decorative tiles, such as those by Addison B. LeBoutillier (1872-1951) who typically portrayed scenes with pine trees, lakes and mountains. Similar landscape reliefs appeared in Ernest Batchelder’s tile work.
As the American Arts and Crafts Movement spread to the West Coast, California became the locale of the fullest expressions of its ideals. Painting also found a special home in California, where the landscape and the indigenous color and light combined with the craftsman ethos to create a regional style. In California the unpolluted and unpopulated landscapes of a Vast new territory evoked an enormous range of creativity. - K.P.H.