I got over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts last Friday for a quick walk-through. It had been quite a while. I like the old paintings and sculpture quite a bit. But I always end up going through the period rooms, and the area with the Frank Lloyd Wright pieces, even though I’m not a fan of that. (Is that a Minnesota collection?)
Two pieces jumped out at me that I didn’t remember seeing before. Both are products of the American Craftsman movement around 1900. Some photos of the two pieces are below. Click to enlarge the graininess. The quality is poor. But they capture the form well enough, which is what I was after.
First is a Greene and Greene chair from the Blacker House. I’ve looked at a bazillion photos and drawings of this stuff. But it was very impressive to see an original in person.
Second is a Stickley desk. The description attributed a lot of the design to Harvey Ellis.
I like the Stickley stuff ok. Compared to the straight and square Stickley pieces I prefer Shaker. Shaker work usually has less brute force, and a little more grace, in my opinion. But the Stickley pieces that have a curve in them – those I usually like quite a bit. This desk isn’t curvy. But it has a much lighter feel. And it has the typical art nouveau inlay. The description said it was suspected the Stickley designers took inspiration for this desk from illustrations Harvey Ellis did for their Craftsman publication.