In response to the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the founding of a new federal agency, the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which began forcibly removing Japanese Americans from the West Coast and relocate them to isolated inland areas. Around 120,000 people were detained in remote camps for the remainder of the Second World War. [Read more…] about Sadakichi Hartmann: A German-Asian-American Artist’s Struggle for Identity
Arts and Crafts Movement
Val-Kill Industries & The American Arts and Crafts Movement
In 1926, Eleanor Roosevelt convened with three of her closest friends, Caroline O’Day, Marion Dickerman, and Nancy Cook, to discuss the probability of a bold new venture. The four women, all active in New York’s Democratic Party, agreed to open a workshop that specialized in the production of Colonial Revival furniture.
Their business would be conducted on the Roosevelts’ Val-Kill property in Hyde Park, Dutchess County, NY and appropriately named “Val-Kill Industries.” Two years prior, Franklin D. Roosevelt built a quaint Dutch Colonial cottage on the property for Eleanor, Marion, and Nancy. This came to be called the “Stone Cottage,” and a more industrial building was constructed for the workshop. [Read more…] about Val-Kill Industries & The American Arts and Crafts Movement
Elverhoj: The Arts and Crafts Colony at Milton-on-Hudson
Among the trio of turn-of-the-century New York State Arts and Crafts communities, Elverhoj is the least-well-known. The recent publication of Elverhoj: The Arts and Crafts Colony at Milton-on-Hudson (Black Dome Press, 2022; distributed by RIT Press), written by William B. Rhoads and Leslie Melvin, resolves the oversight.
Roycroft, in East Aurora (Erie County), and Byrdcliffe, in Woodstock, both began earlier than Elverhoj. Previously, each was the subject of a definitive scholarly text.
Elverhoj was established by Anders Andersen and Johannes Morton on the picturesque west shore of the Hudson River in 1912. Its Danish name loosely translates to “hill of the fairies.” Persisting until the 1930s, well outside of the Arts and Crafts period, it fell victim to the Depression eventually filing for bankruptcy like so many enterprises. [Read more…] about Elverhoj: The Arts and Crafts Colony at Milton-on-Hudson
Traveling Art: Gustav Stickley’s 1903 Exhibitions
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the very first modern traveling art exhibition was not the three-venue, 1913 New York City “Armory Show.” Instead, and a decade earlier, Syracuse and Rochester, New York hosted an important art exhibit.
The novelty of a traveling art exhibition in 1903 is matched by the surprising reason it occurred: a furniture maker’s business deal with an educational institution. [Read more…] about Traveling Art: Gustav Stickley’s 1903 Exhibitions
Socialism, Greenwich Village & ‘The Masses’
The socio-political and economic turmoil of the early twentieth century transformed American society. Between the conclusion of the Civil War and the end of the First World War, the country went from being a predominantly rural farming society to an urban industrial one. [Read more…] about Socialism, Greenwich Village & ‘The Masses’
Nancy Cunard, Modernism and the Private Press Movement
The history of the modern private press can be said to have started in early 1891 with William Morris’s foundation of the Kelmscott Press at 16 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, and the publication of his own work The Story of the Glittering Plain.
There had been forerunners of course. Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill Press, established in June 1757, set a precedent by producing splendid books, pamphlets, and ephemera, but it was Morris who succeeded in establishing a cost-effective press for high quality publications. His initiative gave birth to a host of similar undertakings. He initiated the Private Press Movement which was closely associated with the rise of modernist ideas. Morris also had a remarkable following in New York. [Read more…] about Nancy Cunard, Modernism and the Private Press Movement
The First Red Scare: Socialist Suppression and Explosive Anarchism
In the course of the nineteenth century, powerful and relatively stable explosives were developed. Dynamite became synonymous with radicalism and the moniker “dynamitist” preceded that of terrorist.
On September 16, 1920, a bomb was set off on a busy corner of Manhattan’s financial district. At 12:01 pm, a horse-drawn wagon concealing 100 pounds of dynamite was detonated. The blast killed thirty-eight people. [Read more…] about The First Red Scare: Socialist Suppression and Explosive Anarchism
State Museum Acquires Woodstock Art Colony Artwork
The New York State Museum has announced the acquisition of a significant collection of artwork of the historic Woodstock Art Colony. The collection includes 1,500 paintings, works on paper, sculptures, and archival material and represents more than 170 artists from the early 20th century art colony in Woodstock.
Long before the famous music event in 1969, Woodstock was home to what is considered America’s first intentional year-round arts colony: the historic Woodstock Art Colony, founded in 1902. Its artists have been the focus of collector and donor Arthur Anderson for three decades, resulting in the largest comprehensive art collection of its type. [Read more…] about State Museum Acquires Woodstock Art Colony Artwork