Wharton Esherick may not have the name recognition of Picasso or Pollack, but among lovers of Modern Art, he is acknowledged as the “Dean of American Craftsmen.” Esherick simply believed that beauty could be designed into everyday objects, and that his hand-crafted dining room table or spiral stairway was as artistic as any painting or sculpture. His single-minded determination to emphasize artistic expression in utilitarian objects created a revolution in how people saw art and related to it.
A celebration of his tremendous impact on Modern art, design, and craftsmanship has been given permanent residence at the brand new Modernism Museum Mount Dora—home to an unprecedented collection of the “Dean’s” work as well as that of sculptor/designer Wendell Castle, who credits Esherick as a primary influence.
This beautiful museum is a treat to the eye… and with the help of the Q Media-produced audio tour, a treat to the ear as well. Bringing “Wharton and Wendell’s” work and passion to vivid life was one goal of the audio tour; however, Modernism Museum and Q Media set their minds to an even higher calling: to inspire visitors to make beauty and art an intrinsic part of their lives and their homes.
Few people set a better example than Wharton Esherick about how to live well. Trained as a fine artist, young Wharton tried to fulfill the role expected of him, but he felt a deeper calling than that of the “academy.” He switched from paint to an earthier primary material—beautiful, seasoned, local wood—as his medium. It spoke to him. As he said, wood is “intimate, it’s alive, metal is uncomfortable, plastic just won’t do it.” Armed only with primitive hand tools and his powerful vision, Esherick translated the whispers of the wood into glorious songs—chairs, tables, desks, cabinets, music stands, all created to live WITH people who value beauty.
His impulse to bring high art into everyday life became the guiding spirit of the audio tour, which asks the listener to open their hearts and homes to pure expressive beauty and pleasure—to live like Wharton with objects that are as artistic as they are useful. And one more ingredient makes for the perfect Wharton creation and for the perfect audio tour… According to Wharton himself: “If you take the fun away, I don’t want to have anything to do with it.”
Be sure to check out the one-of-a-kind Wharton Esherick and Wendell Castle creations at Modernism Musuem Mount Dora and take in the audio tour.
Then look at your own home with brand new eyes.