The Art and Craft of Greene & Greene

March 12, 2009 — June 6, 2009

Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)

The architecture and decorative arts designed by Charles Greene (1868-1957) and his brother Henry Greene (1870-1954) a century ago in California are recognized internationally as among the finest of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. The Greenes carefully considered every detail of the buildings and objects they designed, incorporating European, Asian and Native American influences. Like their contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright, they believed architecture to be no less than a design language for life, imbuing their projects with an expressive sensitivity for geography, climate, landscape and lifestyle. Their progressive ideas about design still influence California architecture today.

The Art and Craft of Greene & Greene, the most comprehensive exhibition of the brothers' work to date, examines their legacy with 127 objects in a variety of media, including beautifully inlaid furniture, artfully executed stained glass and metalwork, as well as rare architectural drawings and photographs. The exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of The Gamble House, constructed between 1907 and 1909 in Pasadena, California, which is one of the Greenes' best-known commissions. Edward Bosley, the James N. Gamble Director of The Gamble House, and Anne Mallek, curator at The Gamble House, are co-curators of the exhibition. Robyn Kennedy, chief of the Renwick Gallery, and Nicholas Bell, curatorial associate, are coordinating the exhibition at the Renwick Gallery.

This exhibition has been organized by The Gamble House, University of Southern California and The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California, in cooperation with the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The James Renwick Alliance supports the exhibition's presentation at the Renwick Gallery.

A major book, titled A New and Native Beauty: The Art and Craft of Greene & Greene and published by Merrell Publishers Ltd. London, accompanies the exhibition. Edited by Bosley and Mallek, it includes eleven essays by experts in the field that explore a variety of aspects of the Greene and Greene legacy. The book is available in the museum's store for $39.95 (softcover) and $75 (clothbound).

Online Exhibition
An online exhibition, produced by The Gamble House, University of Southern California, includes an exploration of the Greenes' major projects, archival photographs, and an audio tour.

The audio tour, produced by Antenna Audio, features commentaries from Edward S. Cooke, Jr., professor of American decorative arts at Yale University; Julie Sloan, author and stained-glass consultant; and Isabelle Greene.

Recent News Stories
The Washington Post, "The Beauty of Going Greene, in Abundance" by Michael O'Sullivan
The Washington Times, "Brotherly Art and Craft" by Deborah Dietsch

Greene & Greene, Entry-hall panel

Greene & Greene, Entry-hall panel, 1904, leaded glass and wood, Jennie Reeve house, Long Beach, 1903-04, Private collection, New York. Photograph courtesy of Sotheby’s, New York