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Author Hegstrom, Debra Lynn
Title Gustav Stickley and American "home-making" in "The Craftsman": Gender and design issues, 1890--1915
Descript 268 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 68-03, Section: A, page: 0767
Adviser: Gabriel P. Weisberg
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Minnesota, 2007
At the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century, Gustav Stickley conceived of and promoted an empire based on simple, sturdily-built homes and furniture that reflected his personal philosophy about what was essential to the "good life" in the American democracy. His work was a reaction to what he perceived as the material excesses of the Victorian age; Stickley proclaimed: "The age of leisure and daintiness, with its slight and delicate belongings, has passed; this is a generation of straightforward utilitarianism, which is well represented by the strong-fibered and sturdy oak." Stickley spoke in gendered language, calling Victorian houses and interiors "feminine," while his Craftsman homes and furnishings were "masculine" in nature. Through his Craftsman magazine and catalogs, which served as influential marketing vehicles for his domestic philosophy and business enterprises, Stickley disseminated a discourse about appropriate male and female roles for almost every aspect of American homemaking, as well as the role of the home within the larger sphere of the community
Stickley was also reacting to what he perceived as essentially Old World, feminine characteristics in the "degenerate" curvilinear aesthetic of Art Nouveau. His goal was to differentiate American Arts and Crafts from Art Nouveau by steering the consumer in a more "moral" rectilinear direction. Within the home, spatial arrangements, furnishings, and decorative accessories all played a role in carefully shaping the domestic environment to reinforce a shift to the promulgation of masculine values. Stickley, like others of his time, was reacting to the perceived feminization of American life as a threat to a robust democracy. Under his direction, the modern woman became an agent of consumption whose task was but to embellish an already well-formulated household plan, while the modern man's new interest in domestic affairs would help ensure the proper visual environment for their children. Through his carefully iterated and often scathing criticism of the threat of the feminine to home and society, and his persuasive discourse about the importance of masculine control, Gustav Stickley effectively shaped and promoted a domestic model that, in its physical and psychological manifestations, we can still recognize today
School code: 0130
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 68-03A
Subject Art History
Design and Decorative Arts
Gender Studies
Alt Author University of Minnesota
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