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The Arts and Crafts Movement: Humanity, Simplicity, Beauty

Weekend All-Day Lecture/Seminar

Saturday, December 4, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2172
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Cabinet, 1904, designed by the Stickley Brothers (The Met)

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”  —William Morris

The Arts and Crafts Movement was a dominant influence in visual and decorative arts and architecture in the decades leading up to and after the turn of the last century.  Growing out of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and aesthetic movements in England, it offered an artistic and philosophical reaction to the florid, overdecorated, and industrialized designs of the high-Victorian era.

William Morris’s pronouncements on beauty, utility, nature, and the joy of hand craftsmanship guided the movement’s artists. Rejecting machine work as deadening to workers and mass-produced commercial goods as aesthetically inferior, Morris revived many craft arts such as tapestry and book making. Across the Atlantic, the Arts and Crafts philosophy challenged the opulence and crassness of America’s Gilded Age.  Morris’s principles were interpreted in the Craftsman, Roycroft, and Mission styles, among others, and influenced a new generation of creators.

Art historian Bonita Billman explores the rich flowering and legacy of a movement whose influence is still felt.

The British Arts and Crafts Movement (9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

9:30 to 11 a.m.  William Morris and the Movement’s Origins.

11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Morris’s Influence on Successors: Ashbee, Voysey, Webb

12:30 to 1:30 p.m.  Break

The American Arts and Crafts Movement (1:30 to 4 p.m.)

1:30 to 2:45 p.m.  Gustav Stickley, Greene and Greene, the Bungalow Style, Frank Lloyd Wright

3 to 4 p.m.  Roycroft and Byrdcliffe, Maria Longworth Nichols, Rise of American Art Pottery

Billman is an independent lecturer in the mid-Atlantic states, retired from the department of art and art history at Georgetown University.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit*

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*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.

This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.