The exquisite designs of Arts and Crafts masters Charles Sumner Greene (1868–1957) and Henry Mather Greene (1870–1954) are on view in the Dorothy Collins Brown Wing of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art.
Arriving in Pasadena, Calif., in 1893, the brothers designed residential projects of incomparable beauty (the most famous one being the 1908 Gamble House in Pasadena), which forged a new path for American architecture. And as they refined their vision and collaborated with highly skilled craftspeople and artists, they increasingly designed entire environments—including landscapes, furnishings, lighting fixtures, and windows.
The Huntington’s exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Gamble House/University of Southern California, shows the breadth of the Greenes’ artistic vision. It displays stained- glass windows, lanterns, sconces, lamps, chandeliers, rugs, and andirons, as well as a treasure trove of furnishings, some brought out of storage and some on long-term loan from collectors. The objects hail from more than half a dozen homes (most in Southern California) that the Greenes designed for clients James Culbertson (1902), Jennie Reeve (1903), Adelaide Tichenor (1904), Freeman A. Ford (1906), William T. Bolton (1906), Robert R. Blacker (1907), and others.
A foyer space is composed of a bench built for the Freeman Ford house, a lantern from the front entry porch of the Jennie Reeve house, and three of five casement windows from the Adelaid Tichenor house welcome visitors to the Greene & Greene collection.
The main hall features two scrims that break up the space and frame the scene with large images by Leroy Hulbert, the photographer the Greenes hired to document their work. Corresponding objects depicted on the scrims can be seen on display nearby such as a spectacular sideboard from the 1909 William R. Thorsen House.
A pivotal moment in the architectural development of the Greenes is presented in the form of a re-created fragment of a pergola from one of the Greenes’ earlier commissions, the Arturo and Helen Bandini house (1903). This project was the first example of the Greenes designing for the California climate and lifestyle after arriving in Pasadena 10 years before.
The reassembled stairway from the 1905 Arthur A. Libby house, and the recreation of the dining room of the Henry M. Robinson House, designed and built in Pasadena between 1905 and 1907, reveal the Greenes’ idea of living space in the early 20th century.
Curators use a wall of the hallway between Libby staircase and the Robinson dining room to display light-sensitive objects on a temporary basis, such as plans, prints, and photographs.