NY Art Commentary

One Hundred Years of Art Collection

New York Art World ® - Commentary Index - Artists Listings - Themes

Rockefeller Center Skating
Rockefeller Center in Winter


The 1900's was a glorious century for art, design and craft. The 20th Century has been one of tremendous change -- horse and buggies gave way to the Model T, typewriters and carbon paper to computers and xerox machines, silent films to virtual reality.

In the past 100 years, the craft movement has also undergone phenomenal growth. In the early part of the century, much of the American public viewed crafts as rurally produced, utilitarian objects.
As the timeline that follows suggests, however, contemporary crafts have evolved into a diverse and sophisticated art form that enriches every collector's life.


Kodak debuts the Brownie camera, which sells for $1 and uses film that costs 15 cents per roll -- The Society of Arts and Craft opens its Shop of Handicrafts in Boston -- Gustav Stickley develops his Mission line of furniture for the 1900 Grand Rapids Furniture Exposition.

Biltmore Industries, a craft school for young men and women is founded in Asheville, NC.

Frederick Carder and Thhmas G. Hawkes found Steuben Glass Works -- Jack London's Call of the Wild is publiished.

The Ashcan School, including: John Sloan, Robert Henri, Everett Shinn, and William Glackens, exhibits together for the first time in New York City -- Isadora Duncan bursts onto the dance scene with a package of choreography, stagecraft, and music unlike anything ever seen before.

Alfred Steiglitz opens gallery "291", chich celebrates photography as a fine art.

Greenwich House Pottery is founded in New York City. -- Coco Chanel opens her first couture shop in Paris.


Cartier replaces the pocket watch and designs the wristwatch, a watch face with a leather band.

Marcel Duchamp's "Nude Descending a Staircase" causes a stir with U.S. audiences at the Armory Show.

World War I ends.


Twenties begin to "roar" -- Flappers discover speakeasies and jazz. -- The Broadway musical Show Boat by Oscar Hammerstein and Jerome Kern debuts.

F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes The Great Gatsby.

In Harlem, Duke Ellington transforms the Cotton Club into the capital of jazz.

William van Alen designs The Chrysler Building, Manhattan's first Art Deco skyscraper and construction begins on it.

The Stock Market Crash heralds the Great Depression. -- William Faulkner publishes The Sound and The Fury. -- Louis Bunuel and Salvador Dali create Un Chien Andalou, one of the most powerful Surrealist films. -- Georgia O'Keeffe moves to Taos, NM where she discovers the landscape imagery that would define and dominate her work for the rest of her life.


The Art Institute of Chicago exhibits Grant Woods "American Gothic" -- Cosmetics become socially acceptable -- The Southern Highland Craft Guild is founded.

The tallest building in the world, the Empire State Building opens (and it remains the world's tallest until 1972).

In Michigan, Ellen and George Booth found the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

President Roosevelt begins the Works Progress Administration, that saved thousands of artists from despair and poverty.

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller donates 181 paintings to MOMA - The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, which she was instrumental in founding in 1929.

In Pennsylvania, Frank Lloyd Wright designs the Kaufmann House, which becomes known as Fallingwater.

In Chicago, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy founds the New Bauhaus, a progressive design school. -- Alexander Calder debuts his Mobiles at the Paris World's Fair whcih can be described as groups of abstract tin shapes suspended by thin wires, driven by air currents.

Dupont begins manufacturing nylon stockings. -- The first New York World's Fair opens.


Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen win MOMA's "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition -- America House, a cooperative retail shop run the the Handicraft Cooperative League, opens in New York city.

The National Gallery of Art opens on the Mall, in Washington DC.

Peggy Guggenheim founds the Art of This Centruy gallery, where she first exhibits the work of Jackson Pollock -- Gustav Stickley dies -- Edward Hopper completes Nighthawks, capturing the lonliness at the heart of the city.

In Idaho, George Nakashima leaves an internment camp for a farm in New Hope PA.

Frank Sinatra appears in solo concerts at the New York Paramount and Bobby Soxers swoon, -- The Martha Graham Dance Company debuts Appalachian Spring at the Library of Congress with a set design by Isamu Noguchi and music by Aaron Copeland.

World War II ends.

MOMA gives Charles Eames a one-man show, the first such honor extended to a furniture designer.

Death of a Salesman. by Arthur Miller, premieres in New York -- The Museum of Modern Art presents a major exhibition of the work of James Prestini, a Bauhaus-influenced sculptor and woodworker, which establishes the validity of the wood bowl as an object of art.


Abstract Expressionism, led by Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and Willem de Kooning, dominates American painting as a reaction to World War II -- Haystack Mountain School of Crafts opens in Maine.

I Love Lucy premieres -- Metalsmith Earl Pardon begins teaching jewelry making at Skidmore College.

Gene Kellly's performance in Singing in the Rain provides Holly wood with a signature image.

Peter Voulkos has first solo show at the University of Florida in Gainseville.

Italian immigrant Simon Rodia completes the group of towers constructed from junkyard treasures he'd begun 33 years before in the Watts section of South Central Los Angeles.

Marilyn Monroe stars in The Seven Year Itch.

Elvis scores his first number--one pop hit with Heartbreak Hotel. -- Jackson Pollock dies in a car accident.

Jack Kerouac publishes his autobiographical novel On the Road, bring national attention to the Beat movement. -- American Bandstand becomes the first televised sock-hop. -- The U.S.S.R. launches the Sputnik satellite.

Construction of the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is completed.


Andy Warhol paints his first soup can - Pop Art begins. -- Toledo Glass Worshop is led by Harvey Littleton.

David Smith creates his Cubist series of polished steel sculptures -- John F. Kennedy is assassintated.

Ed Sullivan introduces the Beatles to United States' audiences -- Second New York World's Fair opens in Queens.

Minimalism emerges as a new genre of American art -- MOMA presents The Responsive Eye, a show of pulsating Op-Art paintings-- Timothy Leary leads the day-glo revolution, coining the LSD catch phrase "tune in, tourn on, drop out"-- Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch is complted in St. Louis as a tribute to Lewis and Clark.

The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde are box office hits.

Woodstock -- U.S. astronauts woak on the moon -- The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria VA, is donated to the city and converted into studios for artists to work and sell their art.


The miniskirt raises hemlines to 10 inches above the knee -- Greenpeace is founded.

Pilchuck School founding sets the stage for new interest in contemporary American glass art -- The Whitney Museum of American Art presents the exhibit Abstract Design in American Quilts, which marks a turning pioint in the appreciation of the quilt -- Paul Stankard's paperweights are shown at the indian Summer Art Show in Atlantic City -- The Tacoma Art Museum holds the First National Invitational Hand Blown Glass Exhibit. Glass Art Society is founded.

Christo installs Running Fence in California Sonoma and Marin Counties. Sally Hansen adds contemporary glass to her antique shop in Washington DC.

Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum opens -- David Yurman nickel rings are $7

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden opens in Washington DC -- The Clay Studio opens in Philadelphia. President Richard Nixon resigns -- The Helen Drutt Gallery in Philadelphia opens. Albert Paley wins the Renwick Galler's national design competition and is awarded the commission to design the metalwork gates for its gallery shop.

John Travolta dances in "Saturday Night Fever" -- Urban Glass is established as the New York Experimental Glass Workshop.

National Ornamental Metal Museum opens in Memphis Tenn -- Lino Tagliapietra travels to the U.S. to teach at Pilchuck.


Bull market on Wall Street creates a steady market of art buyers; SoHo emerges as the epicenter of the heady boom -- Michael Jackson and Madonna become household names.

National Endowment for the Arts initiates the Presidential Design awards to recognize and encourage extraordinary achievements in federal design.

The first U.S. Ikea Store opens -- Wendell Castle completes his "Ghost Clock".

New Art Forms debuts in Chicago.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts opens to controversy in Washington DC

Public outcry over the Robert Maplethorpe retrospective, The Perfect Moment, forces the Corcoran Gallery of Art to cancel the show.


Sotheby's holds its first auction of contemporary decorative arts.

The White House Coollection of American Crafts is established.

In Chicago, The Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art (SOFA) exposition premieres.

American Visionary Art Museum debuts in Baltimore MD.

The J. Paul Getty Museum opens in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains in Calfornia -- Windows on the World, the restaurant on top of the World Trade Center in New York opens, featuring four illuminated blown glass sculptures by Dan Dailey -- The Art Jewelry Forum is founded.

Legendary potter Beatrice Wood dies at the age of 105. -- The Museum of American Folk Art announces the plan for it's new building next door to MOMA in New York City.

Mint Museum of Craft and Design opens in Charlotte NC -- Mayor Rudy Guiliani threatens to cut off all city funding to the Brooklyn Museum of art because of the Sensation exhibit.

A new millennium for art, design, and craft begins.

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