Art History Design

Browse through Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman’s The Decoration of Houses (1897) [available online through Project Gutenberg:

(Links to an external site.) ] Focus on the Introduction as well as on Chapter XII (The Library, Smoking-room, and “Den” and Chapter XIII (The Dining-room). How many times does the word “interior architecture” vs. the word “interior decoration” vs. the word “interior design” show up? According to Edith Wharton, between the architect, the designer, the decorator, and the upholsterer, who was responsible for designing private interiors in the second half of the nineteenth century?

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Edith Wharton was an American novelist, writer of short fiction and an interior designer. She was born during the Civil War, and her well-to-do family migrated to Europe for a period due to the decline of the US dollar and a dip in family finances as a result. As a young girl, Edith would play in the forums of Rome and immerse herself in the art and culture of the Italian Renaissance. An avid reader, she would explore her father’s library and lose herself in the content of the books she could access. Wharton would marry into wealth and spend many summers traveling throughout Europe. She had a keen eye for architecture and design and would co-write a book on interior decoration with architect Ogden Codman Jr—The Decoration of Houses, (1897). Wharton’s text promoted clean lines and the value of proportions: interior decoration was really interior architecture. Thus, what were some of the main design tenets promoted within the text? What was their point of view on walls, furniture, windows, fireplaces and decorative objects? A member of a late 19th-century Manhattan aristocracy, so-to-speak, was Wharton’s and Codman’s The Decoration of Houses well received? Who was their audience? Would it be fair to characterize her as a nascent design reformer? A trailblazing feminist? State your take in defense or against such a stance. For more information on Art History Design visit this:

Art History Design

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