Creating the Artful Home: the Aesthetic Movement

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9781586857660: Creating the Artful Home: the Aesthetic Movement

Creating the Artful Home: the Aesthetic Movement and Its Influence on Home Decor covers the history of a movement that emphasized "art for art's sake"-and the influence it had on home décor. The Aesthetic Movement in America lasted just a few decades (1870-1900), and served mainly as a bridge between the high Victorian sensibility and the radical shift to the Arts & Crafts style. The movement germinated among artists who used opulent color, decorative patterning, and lavish materials simply for the aesthetic effects they could evoke. It was commonly held that a home that expressed an artful, harmonious soul would instill high aesthetic and moral merit in its inhabitants. The Aesthetic Movement in America helped to popularize the idea that everyone should be able to enjoy beautiful, well-made homes and furnishings-not just the very wealthy. Artful homes could be composed from brilliant antique store finds, discriminating department store purchases, and gems hand-made by the ladies of the house. It was the moment when people embraced the idea that only a beautiful home could be a happy home.

Karen Zukowski delves into the movement's establishment, evolution, and main characters, and shows how today's homes can incorporate Aesthetic principles:

Through suggestion rather than statement, sensuality, massive use of symbols, and synaesthetic effects-that is, correspondence between words, colors and music.

How influential designers such as Clarence Cook and Charles Eastlake popularized the idea that beautiful homes with tasteful furnishings could be available to practically everyone

How today's designers, manufacturers, and retailers deploy the very same stylistic markers of the Aesthetic Movement: rich color, layered pattern and texture, mixtures of historical motifs

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From the Inside Flap:

Creating the Artful Home: The Aesthetic Movement is the first in-depth look at late-nineteenth-century American home design and its cultural context. Average housewives transformed the radical premise of the Aesthetic movement-art for art's sake-into lush, nurturing homes. They believed that artful homes made people better, families happier, and society stronger. As it flowered in America, the Aesthetic movement became not so much a style as a process. The Aesthetic movement left us a legacy of Queen Anne houses and tidy suburbs, and its influence is now felt as Americans embrace the more-is-more philosophy of home furnishings.

The Aesthetic movement grew out of the ideas and the products of English reformers, such as William Morris, and was flamboyantly promoted by Oscar Wilde in an 1882 lecture tour across America. Tastemakers rallied-Louis Comfort Tiffany became an interior designer while his father's firm, Tiffany and Company, produced Japoniste silver. Eastlake furniture invaded fashionable shops like Cottier's, and Oriental stores appeared even in small towns. Graphics transmitted the new design overtly through advertising and subtly through products like ubiquitous Staffordshire tableware. This book takes a thorough look at household furnishings, from the lavish productions of the Herter Brothers to humble Minton tiles.

This volume will intrigue collectors, historians, and homemakers. Dozens of never-before-published illustrations, including rare color views of 1880s interiors and exteriors, shed new light on American houses. The author gives thoughtful insights into gender roles and the development of architecture as a moral imperative. Collectors will appreciate the thorough examination of historic architecture and furnishings and the glimpses of modern objects that show the same aesthetic. Most of all, the book gives modern homeowners insights into how American houses of the past have shaped our houses today-and how we might create our own artful homes in the future.

About the Author:

Karen Zukowski is an independent historian of late-nineteenth-century American visual culture, with a special interest in interiors. She holds a PhD from the City University of New York. She was the curator of Olana State Historic Site, one of the finest surviving Aesthetic Movement houses in America, built by Frederic Edwin Church, the Hudson River School painter. She is currently an adjunct faculty member in the Museum Studies department of New York University, and the Cooper Hewitt/Parsons MA program in the History of Decorative Arts and Design. She is an active member of several professional organizations for historic houses, and lives in New York City.

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Zukowski, Karen
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