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The craftsman
Vol. VII, No. 5 (February 1905)

Taylor, J.
The new relationship between artist and craftsman,   pp. 589-590 PDF (700.2 KB)


Page 589


THE NEW RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ARTIST
AND CRAFTSMAN. BY J. TAYLOR
HE "Modern Movement" has now enjoyed something
like ten years of uninterrupted progress in Europe, and
it may be safe to assume that it has become an established
fact. Some unsympathetic critics are heard to declare
that it is but "a phase," that it will prove "evanescent,"
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would hardly be worth while to stop to argue with those critics.
Long ago, a greater than any modern scribe asked the question:
"What's in a name?" And supposing the latest development in deco-
ration, "the new idea," ceased from now to attract the artist,
the crafts-
man, or the intelligent public, it would ever be memorable because it
was the means of bringing the artist and the craftsman into a bond of
such close and sympathetic fellowship as they had not known for a
hundred years.
   One of the chief causes that led to the degradation of the domestic
arts in Europe from the second or third decade of the nineteenth
century to a comparatively recent period, was the desertion of the
artist from all interest in the subject, and this reacted to such an ex-
tent on the craftsman that gradually he became less and less efficient,
until it was becoming a question of some seriousness, where and how
to get competent workmen. Take the matter of the furnishing and
the decorating of the house-a department in which some of the best
talent of the day was wont to exercise itself-and you will find that
with a few exceptions, notably Morris and his coadjutors, during the
latter part of the period referred to, the field was left very much to re-
spectable mediocrity, with the result that, broadly speaking, furnish-
ing and decorating ceased to be an art, and became purely a matter of
commercialism. Then without apparent warning or arrangement in
many parts of Europe artists, architects and designers began to mani-
fest an unwonted interest in all matters relating to the house; they
might differ in details, but they agreed in essentials, such as simplicity,
unconventionality, absence of over elaboration and ornamentation,
color arranged for uniformity of effect, each scheme worked out as
a complete, individual whole.
   The artist ceased to draw his knowledge and inspiration from the
text-book and the records of the past, he made himself thoroughly
acquainted with the workman and his methods, he began to design
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