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Displaying items by tag: Arts and Crafts

The Lorraine and Alan Bressler Gallery in the new Art of the Americas Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, features works inspired by the American Arts and Crafts movement (Fig. 1). Despite the fact that the founding and early formative years of the museum were integrally related to the development of the Arts and Crafts movement in Boston and the United States at large, this is the first time in the MFA’s 140-year history that a significant gallery has been dedicated to this material.

The MFA’s founding in 1870 was in part motivated by design reform efforts begun earlier in the century in England. Design reformers lamented the decline in aesthetic standards brought on by industrial production, and debated the role of art, design, and morality in ornament and manufacture and, by extension, in everyday life. With “Art, Industry, Education” as its motto, the MFA was modeled after London’s South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum, established in 1852), as a “resource whence artisanship and handicraft of all sorts may better and beautify our dwellings, our ornaments, our garments, our implements of daily life.” 1 The art and artifacts (or copies of originals) shown in the MFA were meant to inspire and educate artists, designers, and the general public, and therefore improve the aesthetic quality of manufactures and domestic settings in Boston and beyond.
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