(Along with this section in each chapter -- "Aesthetic Movements that Impact on Amateur Woodworking" -- as a source of reference I created a quick-and-dirty guide to Furniture Styles.)
Chapter 5 1931 - 1940 5:7 Aesthetic tastes of decadeBack to Chapter 5
Aesthetic tastes of decade; e.g., prevailing popularity of arts and crafts design; neo-colonial revivalism-nativism
Unfortunately the available supply of genuine antiques is so far below the demand that only the favored few- can enjoy the possession of artistic old pieces. For the great majority reproductions will have to (1o. If well made and of time proportions, they will be found to be just as pleasing as the originals, besides being much stronger.
The higher class of furniture factories are meeting the demand of the times by turning out many excellent reproductions, which are not merelv common adaptations but follow time original in every detail.
But reproduction of antique furniture need not necessarily be confined to professional cabinet makers. It may well be undertaken by high school boys, and many pieces can even be made by students of the eighth grade. Work of this kind may at first appear too difficult; but, when the processes are carefully analyzed, these difficulties will disappear, and the result will be ever so more pleasing and satisfying than the usual "Mission" type of furniture.
With this idea in mind, the following material has been compiled. The pieces of furniture illustrated have been selected for their general simplicity and adaptability to the average home. They have been photographed, measured, and translated into working drawings, thus making them available for reproduction. A few suggestions and a short description of the principal technical difficulties involved in the construction of each piece have been added, as Well as a chapter giving a brief outline of the art periods and how to distinguish the most important of them.
While the book is intended chiefly for school use, it is hoped that it may also prove of interest to cabinet-makers, amateur woodworkers, and people in general who are interested in good furniture.
San Juan, Porto Rico
Source: HERMAN HJORTH, Reproduction of Antique Furniture Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988, pages 176-177.
The potential of new wood products was frequently explored and expanded by architects and craftspeople working in studio settings. Craft training became the basis for industrial design education, setting standards of quality and providing modelmaking skills. Many modern architects, continuing an Arts and Crafts tradition, controlled all aspects of a project, favoring simple built-in and free-standing furniture of their own design, constructed by carpenters on the building site. Finally, and least common of all, there was the artist-craftsperson who conceived and made unique functional objects. The fusion of the many branches of modernism and the various modes of execution gave rise to a confusing plethora of hybrids that prevents a simple line of development in this narrative.
Early Modernist American Furniture
Furniture of the early 1920s shows striking links with the Arts and Crafts movement as well as with the first wave of modern style.
(Sources:The designs of the British Industrial Arts instructors, Percy A Wells and John Hooper , and the designer-woodworker, Gordon Russell, helped promote and popularizes these elaborations on Arts and Crafts designs.
Another study of early modernist American furniture is Marguerite Smith's 1947 master's thesis, "Modern Design in Ameican Domestic Furniture, 1925 to 1945". Only 50-pages of double-spaced typecript -- accompanied by photos by Smith and clippings from magazines -- Smith briefly but capably outlines the contributions of major players and analyzes the threads of development, noting in particular that these designers were tuned into the applications of their designs in mass produsction settings.
Janet Kardon, Craft in the Machine Age, New York: H.N. Abrams, in association with the American Craft Museum, 1995, especially Kate Carmel's chapter "Against the Grain: Modern American Woodwork", page 74+; Noel Riley, ed., Elements of Design: A Practical Encyclopedia of the Decorative Arts From the Renaissance to the Present new York: free press, 2003.)/blockquote>
Popular Science Monthly "modernistic" blueprints.[image coming]
[When I get this image uploaded it will show how, in 1933, as part of its "Home Workshop Blueprints" service, a mailing service, at $.25 each, readers could order from a selection of about 30 projects at least five projects that incorporated a "modernistic" design. In October, 1933, on pages 82-83, Herman Hjorth has an article -- with diagrams and photos -- on how to design a "Smoking Stand", "designed on simple modern lines".]
("Modern" or "Modernist", evidently are then sort of like code words for the rectilinear styles that emerged from the Bauhaus movement. Nowhere, though, I located where Popular Homecraft, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Home Craftsman, Deltagram, and so forth has given readers a background on the historical origins of the style. Evidently the style was so pervasive that the editors of these periodicals thought an explanation was superfluous, and not necessary or useful. However, Popular Homecraft presented its readers with a little more background than any of the other woodworker's magazines. I have gathered some of this evidence into a single, which you can view by clicking on this link. )