Byrdcliffe: An American Arts and Crafts Colony

June 25–September 19, 2004
Decorative Arts Gallery

Byrdcliffe: An American Arts and Crafts Colony honors the centennial of Byrdcliffe, the colony founded as a center for artists and craftsmen in Woodstock, New York in 1902–1903. The colony was started by Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead, a wealthy British disciple of John Ruskin and William Morris, who was determined to make his mentors’ utopian vision of an arts and crafts colony a reality.

Zulma Steele, Dragonfly Wallpaper

The furniture, textiles, metalwork, ceramics, paintings and photographs made by the artists of Byrdcliffe are examined within the context of the creative Woodstock community. The examination is completed through the architecture, literature, poetry and folk music created by those that lived or visited the colony.

The exhibition is organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University and is supported by the New York State Council on the Arts, the Luce Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts and a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund. The exhibition is coordinated by Glenn Adamson, MAM adjunct curator and curator of the Chipstone Foundation.
  • Byrdcliffe Colony; panel designed by Zulma Steele, Chest, ca. 1904. Poplar and original copper hardware. Layton Art Collection.
  • White Pines Pottery; Byrdcliffe Colony, Vase, ca. 1915–1926. Glazed earthenware. Layton Art Collection.
  • Zulma Steele, Dragonfly Wallpaper, ca. 1905. Watercolor, ink and gold paint. Collection of Jean and Jim Young.