Monday, April 21, 2014

Modern Print Monday: Candace Wheeler

Poet's Narcissus by Candace Wheeler, 
New York, 1883–1900,
produced by Associated Artists.
 Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Candace Thurber Wheeler 1827-1923

Candace Wheeler was an influential designer in late 19th-century America. She was of the "Young America" generation, reformers and cultural renegades, raised in an Abolitionist family in New York. The Thurbers refused to wear cotton or eat cane sugar, products of the slave culture they abhorred. 

After her 1844 marriage to a "clever, progressive man" she lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn joining artistic and creative circles, and then moved to the Long Island village of Jamaica. 

Exhibit hall at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition

In 1876 she attended Philadelphia's Centennial Exhibition where she was impressed by the display organized by London's "Royal School of Art Needlework in South Kensington."  Seeing handwork as a way to enable poor women to earn money she founded the New York Society for Decorative Art dedicated to teaching crafts classes, providing artistic direction and selling the products.

A few years later she partnered with Lewis Comfort Tiffany in an interior design firm. Tiffany & Wheeler (later Associated Artists) decorated many homes and public buildings in arts and crafts style. 

Associated Artists stenciled the walls in the Mark Twain
house in 1881. The four associates were Tiffany, Wheeler,
 Lockwood DeForest and Samuel Coleman.

Daffodil by Candace Wheeler, 
New York, 1883–1900,
produced by Associated Artists.
 Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Printed cotton velvet; Gift of Mrs. Boudinot Keith, 1928 (28.70.25)

Wheeler and brother Frank Thurber bought acreage in New York's Catskills mountains and established an artists' community named Onteora Park.

Candace in the chair on the right (?)
on Onteora's front porch.

The Onteora Club survives and one can rent a "cottage".
Above arts and crafts decoration in Wheeler's home.

The authoritative book on Candace Wheeler is the exhibit catalog by Metropolitan Museum of Art curators Amelia Peck & Carol Irish:

Candace Wheeler: The Art and Enterprise of 
American Design, 1875-1900

As an out-of-print catalog it is expensive but Google books has an extensive preview:

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting! I had never heard of her before. I love her prints, thanks for sharing!