Popular Woodworking 2008-10 № 171, страница 57

Popular Woodworking 2008-10 № 171, страница 57


Charles Greene was a genius. Consider the sheer numbcrof pieces he designed bet wren 1907 and 1910. The wiluineti work is astounding. all the more so because many of ihese picccscould define acarccr But genius doesn't exist in a vacuum. Charles and Henry were influenced by theirtraining. by theircontem-porarics and by their predecessors.

Gustav Stickley's influence has been well chronicled. However, this wasa jumping-off point foe the Greenes. They didn't publicly promote the political ideals of the Arts & Crafts movement. Nor were they strict adherents to the design philosophy. They did not. for example, completely eschew applied ornament (neither did Stickley, for that matter -consider Harvey Ellis designs during his brief career with Stickley).

Clearly the Greenes were attracted to the ideas of rest rained use of decorative flourishes, honest joinery and utility. Whereas Sticklcy looked primarily to Europe. Charles Greene often looked to Asia for influence.

The Greenes were likely exposed to Asian formsduringthcir education, but in 1893 they had a rare opportunity to see them first-hand at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In 1904, Charles once again viewed Japanese designs when he visited the St. Louis Worlds Fair while working for Adelaide Tichenor. Clearly, he was affected by what he saw.

In some cases the influence is obvious. The exposed-timber const ruction inGrecne &r Greene homes Is also common in Japanese temples. Also similar to Japanese architectural details are broad eavcs(mirrored in wide overhangs on furniture). Lcssobviousisthc scroll detail used to excellent effect in the Gamble and Blacker houses-a Chinese form.

Wood-trim details in the Thonsen house living room frieze resemble a wcll-kno«-n Japanese detail (kaerumata). One must wonder if this form, sometimes described as resembling a pitchfork, was intended as Ncptune'strident given the nautical theme in the Thorsen living room. This may seem far-fetched but in a Greene design there are no accidents.


The Greene & Greene design vocabulary is much richer and more varied than often thought. That many woodworkingarticlcs emphasize only the most common elements is at least partially toblame. Liftsand ebony pegs are beautiful and essential: they are. however, only a small part of the story.

72 ■ rtvuUi WoodwxttlKC Ottuhrr 2008


Bcjutiful built-in. Tl\n IxiiSt-in Ix>oit.lv in the Ihorsen tnrng room exhibit\ m.my beMjtihJd>-tJ\h J* does the architectural trim And the frieze.

The jrt of the drjnvt pull. Putts on Thorsrn thing mom designed theirs instead. is to these

cfcmro ire tkgtiH and functrorul. acuKheons.

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