University of Texas at Austin Exhibition Explores the Arts & Crafts Movement in America

The curators of The Rise of Everyday Design emphasize that the movement did not peter out in the early 20th century as commonly understood, but projected a legacy well into the 1960s.
Rise Everyday Design arts craft UT austin

A perspective drawing from 1938 by American architect Harwell Hamilton Harris reflects the flow of Arts and Crafts thinking into the United States. Courtesy University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin


At the University of Texas at Austin, the Harry Ransom Center is brimming with finery. Through July 14, rarefied items—including an 1896 Chaucer edition by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press—are part of the exhibition The Rise of Everyday Design: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and America, offering testament to the visual riches of the movement. Yet equally important are its more humble displays, like a wooden plant stand crafted by John Puffer, a South Dakota rancher. Through 250 objects, curators Christopher Long and Monica Penick illustrate the arc of Arts and Crafts from its social-minded origins in Britain during the late 19th century—an era whose democratic ideals proved incompatible with the high cost of hand production—through its spread to the United States and its absorption into industrial manufacturing and quotidian wares. The curators emphasize that the movement did not peter out in the early 20th century as commonly understood, but projected a legacy well into the 1960s.

Rise Everyday Design arts craft UT austin

Christopher Dresser’s geometric designs from 1876 are also among the items displayed at Austin’s Ransom Center. Courtesy Evelyn Waugh Library, Harry Ransom Library


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Categories: Arts + Culture, Design