Visions of Design: Parallels in Mid-Century Modern and Shaker Furniture

May 11, 2019 to March 22, 2020


Lawrence Bloedel looking out to Mount Greylock;

Visions of Design presents parallels found in Shaker furniture and Mid-century Modern furniture, with pieces drawn from Fruitlands Museum’s Shaker collection and from Field Farm in Williamstown, former home of avid modern art and furniture collectors Lawrence and Eleanor Pamedo Bloedel, which is now a six-room Bed and Breakfast. The Shakers, a religious communal society who settled throughout the eastern United States, flourishing in the mid-1800s, and the Modernists, recognized for their use of innovative aesthetic forms in the mid-twentieth century, were each inspired by close relationships with the landscape. Despite existing a century apart, their mutual sensitivity to place, materials, and intended use led both to prioritize purpose over decoration when creating and collecting furniture and art. The furniture and art in this exhibition may intrigue visitors to think differently about how the design of furniture evolves.

In addition to comparison of these two collections, cabinetmaker Eli Cleveland, distinguished alumni of North Bennet Street School, Boston, will create replicas of three pieces of furniture in the exhibit, with yet-to-be assembled parts seeming to float in the center of the gallery, dramatically highlighting how the furniture was fabricated.


Lawrence Bloedel looking out to Mount Greylock;


Hans Wegner, Chair, 1956, wood., F.149.1

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Harvard, Massachusetts 01451
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