A Tradition of Progress: Ohio Decorative Arts 1860-1945

My household is usually a busy place. We live in a one-room schoolhouse with too many cats and too many books, and, when that wasn’t challenge enough, we added two small children. I work from home, so my work keeps things busy – including my husband, Andrew Richmond, who has an exhibition opening this Saturday, which Prices 4 Antiques is pleased to sponsor.

When A Tradition of Progress: Ohio Decorative Arts 1860-1945 opens February 7 at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster, my house will be a slightly calmer place after eighteen months (which is a very short time in the museum world to create an exhibition). That time has involved hundreds of hours of combing institutional and private collections looking for objects, researching and writing about those objects, and even transporting those objects to the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio in Lancaster. In all, there are just over 150 objects—from paint-decorated blanket chests to Rookwood Pottery, and from silver tea sets to a Bakelite and magnesium vacuum cleaner.

And our extended “company family” pitched in too! Among the more than fifty lenders are Kent, our general manager, David and Sharen Neuhardt (David’s one of our board members), Don and Edythe Aukerman (Don’s a former board member), and Wes Cowan (one of our early advisors and head of Cowan’s Auctions, one of our contributors). Garth’s Auctions, Andrew’s employer and another contributor to the database, is also a sponsor. Objects came from throughout Ohio and from as far away as Arkansas and tell the story of Ohio’s coming of age through four themes: Continuing Traditions (objects made in the traditional handcraft manner); The Gilded Age (opulence and those objects that aspired to it); Art & Craft (including the booming art pottery industry); and Becoming Modern (Art Deco and industrial design). Walking through the four galleries of the 1830s classical home that is the Decorative Arts Center, visitors will see a whirlwind of paint, carved wood, brightly colored glazes, glimmering glass, and the shine of chrome and aluminum, as well as works by important Ohio names such as Jacob Werrey, Mitchell and Rammelsberg, Heisey Glass, and Viktor Schreckengost. After Equal in Goodness: Ohio Decorative Arts 1788 to 1860, Andrew’s first exhibition at DACO, which crammed more than 220 objects into the galleries, he has once again challenged DACO’s installation team and they have come through with a stunning display, if I do say so myself, that feels comfortably full, but amazingly not crowded.

The show runs from February 7 through May 17, 2015 and is expected to be seen by nearly 10,000 visitors, so if you’re passing through Ohio, do be sure to be one of them! There is also an exhibition catalog that we spent many late-night hours writing, illustrated with beautiful photographs, and introductory essays that I co-authored. Andrew will also be giving tro lectures during the show’s run and you can find more information about them , the show itself, and DACO here: http://www.decartsohio.org/exhibitions.html. Or, even better, we’d love to have you join us for the Midwest Antiques Forum, April 24-26, as Andrew will also be giving a tour to attendees on Friday as part of an optional day of activities. You can find updates about that here as well as on the Forum’s website: http://www.midwestantiquesforum.com

A Tradition of Progress: Ohio Decorative Arts 1860-1945 was generously supported by not just the Prices 4 Antiques family, but also the Ohio Arts Council, the Wendel Family Fund of the Fairfield County Foundation, the Ohio Historical Decorative Arts Association, and Garth’s Auctions.