Born in Osceola, Wisconsin
, Gustav Stickley was a founder of the American Arts and Crafts movement
. Moving from stone masonry
making, and lastly to architecture
, Stickely's influence on turn of the century style was profound.
Returning from a trip to Europe
, where he met many European Arts and Crafts artists, Stickley founded United Crafts
of Eastwood, New York
. The furniture he made was a reaction against what he perceived to be an effeminancy in Victorian
The age of leisure and daintiness, with its slight and delicate belongings, has passed; this is a generation of straightforward utilitarianism, which is well represented by the strong-fibered and sturdy oak."
He preferred using oak in his furniture, finishing it with shellac
. His furniture was sturdy, with exposed joints, and canvas
Moving from furniture making to philosophy
, Stickley started a periodical, The Craftsman
, in 1901
. This magazine served to spread his gospel
of simple, honest, straight forward design, and later had an impact on house design. Many bungalows
built during the first two decades of the 20th century reflect his design philosophy. Stickley was interested in making humble homes that harmonized with their surroundings, as this quote from The Craftsman
A house that is built of stone where stones are in the fields, of concrete where the soil is sandy, of brick where brick can be had reasonably, or of wood if the house is in a mountainous wooded region, will from the beginning belong to the landscape. And the result is not only harmony but economy.
Stickley's influence diminished after the end of World War I, and his ideal of the lone craftsman was supplanted by the realities of mass production
housing construction. He died in 1942
, long before his philosophy and style would see a renaissance
that began in the 1970s, and continues to the present day.