Boston boasted one of the most active and influential artistic jewelry-making and metalworking communities in the nation in the early twentieth century. This is the first exhibition dedicated solely to the exemplary works of these craftspeople—an interwoven group of both men and women, New England natives and immigrants, professionals and amateurs, and solo practitioners and small workshops—who all shared a belief in the ideals of the international Arts and Crafts movement.
Both an artistic and a cultural movement, it developed in England in the late nineteenth century as a reaction to the dehumanizing effects of the Industrial Revolution, promoting individual artistry and craftsmanship as crucial elements for leading a joyful and fulfilling life. These progressive ideas found a ready audience in intellectual and artisanal circles in Boston at the turn of the century.
Through nearly 100 works—including jewelry, tableware, decorative accessories, design drawings, and archival materials—the exhibition explores the philosophy and artistry of the Arts and Crafts movement in Boston, as well as the stories of the objects’ makers and owners. In addition to emphasizing the opportunities offered to female artists such as Josephine Hartwell Shaw and Elizabeth Copeland at the time, the exhibition also highlights the contributions of jewelry maker Frank Gardner Hale and silversmith Arthur Stone, both luminaries in their respective fields. An accompanying illustrated catalogue will be released by MFA Publications in November 2018.