The Arts and the American Home, 1890–1930
Foy, Jessica H., and Karal Ann Marling, eds.
Cloth Edition, $35.00s
Cloth ISBN: 0-87049-825-8
Status: Out of Print
Paper Edition, $17.00s
Paper ISBN: 0-87049-907-6
Status: In Print
DescriptionBetween 1890 and 1920, the daily life of the American family began to reflect rapid advances in technology, aesthetics, and attitudes about American culture. Pictorial, literary, musical, and decorative arts from this era all reveal a shift from clutter to clarity and from profusion to restraint as radios, ice boxes, and other labor-saving devices were introduced into the domestic environment. However, although the household arts were heavily influenced by modern conveniences and ideas, they were also affected by an enduring strain of conservatism, that insisted on retaining icons from the past such as the fireplace and the piano in residential decor.
In this collection of essays, ten experts in turn-of-the-century decorative arts, popular culture, and material culture examine the struggle that took place in the home between modernity and tradition. Their findings touch on sub-themes of gender, generation, and class to provide a fascinating commentary on what middle-class Americans were prepared to discard in the name of modernity and what they stubbornly retained for the sake of ideology. Through material culture and prescriptive literature from this period, the essayists also demonstrate how changes in artistic expression affected the psychological, social, and cultural lives of everyday Americans.
This book joins a growing list of titles dedicated to analyzing and interpreting the cultural dimensions of past domestic life. Its essays individually and collectively shed new light on house history by tracking the transformation of a significant element of home life—its expressions of art.
The Editors: Jessica H. Foy is Curator of Collections, McFaddin-Ward House, Beaumont, Texas. Karal Ann Marling is a professor of Art History and American Studies at the University of Minnesota.
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