Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Rancho Monterey

The California Heritage Museum presents: "Rancho Monterey: Spanish Revival & Mexican Decorative Arts in California."
California's Spanish and Mexican roots were rediscovered in the 1920s-30s, and exploited by companies who hired artists and craftsmen to design the famous "Monterey Furniture," echoing the newfound love for Spanish revival architecture.

"As development spread to the more abundant land available in the valleys," writes The Argonaut, architects began designing low-slung ranch houses inspired by the original adobe ranches of Monterey, California's first capital. To fill the new homes, furniture makers and decorative artists responded with a range of colorful designs, and a romantic view of the 'Old West' that sought to capture the imaginations of Californians seeking opportunity in the Golden State."

Like with other architecture and design movements of the time, the Monterey furniture offered an integrated approach -- from walls to furniture to art to pots and pans. And as usual with the California Heritage Museum, the exhibit brings together an incredible selection of artifacts from private collections, thus providing a rich insight into an era that would soon be thwarted by the contingencies of WWII. Excellent book on the subject: Monterey: Furnishings of California's Spanish Revival. [more with photos]
painting by Juan Intenoche via The Argonaut [no pix allowed or available in the museum]