Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE FIRST EXHIBITION
OF AMERICAN TEXTILES, COSTUMES, AND

MECHANICAL PROCESSES

HELD AT THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, NOVEMBER 12 TO DECEMBER 1, 1919
LEGENDS BY HERBERT J. SPINDEN

[graphic]

YOUNG AMERICA IN THE RAIMENT OF OLD PERSIA

In former times each nation had its few special styles in dress and there were slow processes of refinement that operated upon these styles. Now dress is cosmopolitan, but cosmopolitan with an almost personal variation in detail. There are fundamental types that return in the vogne from time to time, and these go back to the old national styles. The wraiths of the past come and go like shadows-or shall we say silhouettes?

Kevorkian Galleries

631

[graphic]

A Bokhara Reproduction. - Bonwit Teller & Co.

Connected with the American

A

MERICA has reason to be vastly proud of her recent progress in expressing beauty through the things of everyday use. The Exhibition of Industrial Art in Textiles and Costumes, covered in part by the series of photographs that accompanies this brief statement, disclosed new forces in American life. It disclosed a will of the people to work and think together, an ideal of individual satisfaction in the common good, a conception of the nation as the exponent of a philosophy of justice, industry, and well-being, and a recognition of the place of beauty and good craftsmanship in the things that men and women spend their lives to create.

Such emotional forces, engrossing society, are the surest protection against the doctrines of individual or class selfishness. When the national consciousness shall be duly expressed through all the little things that touch life, through garments and dishes and house furnishings, the great things will assume a new significance. And in bringing about such a realization what would be more effective than a great Museum of the Passing Today, which would stage kaleidoscopic expositions of those emotional qualities that glorify labor and serve as an educational clearing house of objective teaching in what is good?

A museum of commercial arts would, in effect, be a museum of the ethnology of today. It would be entirely justifiable from every scientific standpoint and would receive public support because of its direct relation to life in its broader aspects and to the special problems of arts and industries. Such a museum need not be involved directly in the

[graphic]

of Commercial Arts

Museum of Natural History

competitive activities of commerce. It can reserve for itself a position above criticism as an umpire of the best in construction and decoration and as a teacher of facts and fundamentals.

The great arts into which decoration enters, or into which it may enter, involve tremendous values in men and money. Mention need only be made of textiles, costumes, pottery, jewelry, and house furnishings. All of these have their foundations set deeply in the arts and crafts of the lesser and earlier nations. It would not be proper to show such arts except in historical perspective and the American Museum of Natural History with its great collections from all times and all parts of the world is best able to furnish such a perspective. Moreover, this public institution has a record of solid achievement in its relation, first to industry, and second to education.

Let us imagine a large section of the American Museum of Natural History given over to the needs and uses of commerce. First there would be halls so arranged that the modern materials could be placed on temporary exhibition without risk or deterioration. Second, there would be more permanent educational collections covering the world range of definite processes. Third, there would be ample provision for classes in design coming from public or private schools and for professional designers coming from manufacturing establishments. Fourth, there would be scientific laboratories where special problems relating to fibers, dyes, pottery clays, cabinet woods, and so on, could be studied. by experts.

After the Coptic.-Bonwit Teller & Co.

634

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

A STUDY IN SOURCES AND RESULTS

In this exhibit we see a clear demonstration of the use of art motives from all parts of the world in modern machine-made embroidery. The map in the foreground shows
lines leading from Africa, Asia, Central America, and the islands of the Pacific to New York, and bears the story-telling iabel: "The world pays tribute of ideas to American art."
Design, and sometimes colors, are followed, but materials and mechanical processes are different. Aside from the practical commercial value of new notes in decoration there 18
another practical value that comes from arousing the interest of craftsmen in their work

David Aaron & Co., Inc.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

HOW THE CULTURE OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN MAY BECOME OUR OWN

There is something refreshing in the art of the American Indian. It is simple, direct and sincere; it is fundamentally good and all its possibilities of development have
not been exhausted. Upon such art an education in good taste may be based. In the extensive series of photographs which the American Museum of Natural History has
brought together for the use of teachers, students, and professional designers, stress is laid upon the decorative qualities that exist in the geometric and formalized motives of
Rather it is the hope that the primitive philosophy of art
primitive art.
It is not the intention that the primitive motives should be used directly and without change or adjustment.
The decoration grows out of the construction and does not interfere with use or weaken the ob
should be followed. According to this philosophy beauty is as beauty does.
Instead, the decoration often actually strengthens, as when beaded strips are placed over seams or along margins in primitive garments. This primitive
The blossoms of the wild rosebush grow organically out of the plant and perform useful functions. But with the
jects in any way.
philosophy of art is one that Mother Nature herself follows.
So too in art-there is a point of balance where fine ef-
excessive esthetic development achieved by over-cultivation, the qualities of usefulness disappear in the blossom.
ficiency is joined with fine decoration.

Here we see an application in which the fun
The acorn basket of the Maidu Indians of California furnishes a strong note of beauty that can be turned to many uses.
The development is accomplished by the use of beaded outlines and scroll work to fill in the open spaces
damental motive is applied in leather over silk.

David Aaron & Co., Inc.

635

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »