The Arts &
Crafts Movement in Southern California
April 3, 2001
Society of North America 29th Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA
Elizabeth Broman, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
Stephen Van Dyk, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum
DART (Decorative Arts Round Table)
Dr. Robert Winter, Professor emeritus. Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
Charlotte Erwin, Associate Archivist at Caltech
Edward R. Bosley, Director of The Gamble House, Pasadena- designed by architects Greene & Greene
The purpose of this session was to look at how the Arts & Crafts Movement spread and manifested itself in Southern California at the turn of the 20th century. We focused more on how the movement translated itself in the decorative arts, architecture, and interior design.
Dr. Winter provided a general background of the Arts & Crafts Movement and the Arroyo culture and its artist and craftsmen in Southern California. He spoke more specifically on one artist- the tilemaker Ernest Batchelder, who studied and worked in various places in the U.S. before settling in California . Batchelder trained, like many Southern California Arts & Crafts artists, at the Throop Institute.
Charlotte Erwin spoke to us about the beginnings, activities, and eventual dissolution of Throop as a manual training and crafts school into what is now Caltech. Ms. Erwinís presentation used wonderful photographs from the Throop Archives to outline its history and illustrate the key role the school played in training artists of this time.
Ted Bosley spoke to us about how the Gamble family, like so many East and Mid-westerners, migrated to California for the winter and eventually decided to build a home and stay. The architectural firm of the brothers Greene & Greene were able to express their design philosophy in building new homes, redefining architecture and interior design in the Arts & crafts movement style in the Gamble House, the finest remaining example of their work. Greene & Greene designed both the house and all the interiors down to the smallest details, -including the wall switchplates for lighting, and Mr. Bosley had beautiful slides that demonstrated the Greenesí attention to detail. This was an illuminating presentation, especially for those who visited The Gamble House on the tour, and the next best thing for those who didnít.
A bibliography of Arts & Crafts in Southern California was compiled based on recommendations of the speakers and handed out at the Session. Caltech also has a website where you can view the holdings of their Archives- www.caltech.edu/archives.