No reference can be made to the Arts and Crafts
movement in America without prominent mention of the name Stickley. Not only was the
Stickley family responsible for many of the Arts and Crafts objects that were produced
during the era, but they disseminated and embodied the philosophy of the movement as well.
The Stickley brothers provide a rare opportunity to explore the
Arts and Crafts ideal as interpreted by representatives of a single extended family. This
allows us to investigate the nature of the movement - which argued that the living and
working environment melds individual character - while contemplating the nature of the
family. Understanding the origins of the design aesthetics found in the Stickleys'
production in general, and comparing specific designs by the two most prominent brothers,
Gustav and Leopold, in particular, leads to a discussion of their unique personalities and
the family's dynamics. Analyzing the evolution of their businesses, and the phases that
influenced their products' changing aesthetics, invites comparisons with the shifting
dynamics of the family itself, where members assumed changing roles and responsibilities
over the years as its structure and resourses fluctuated. It does seem clear that
ultimately the family's cohesiveness and mutual support enabled its members to create
works which stand both as exemplars of the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement and as
classics of American design.
Some books on Stickley can be found in our bookstore.
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