I like to refer to this event as the best kept secret in the world of design: the annual National Arts and Crafts Conference which takes place at the Grove Park Inn on the mountain in Asheville, NC. This historic hotel, built in 1913 as a mountain retreat, has hosted this conference for the past 35 years. It is where all those passionate about the American Arts and Crafts Movement gather, including dealers, collectors, authors, curators, contemporary producers of craft furniture (such as Door Pottery and Mission Guild Studios), foundations related to the Movement (such as the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms and the Roycrofters-At-Large Association, Two Red Roses Foundation), and auction lumineries (such as David Rago and John Toomey). It is a weekend spent diving into history through seminars, selling exhibitions, fund raising events, and book signings.
At this year’s Conference (open on Friday) the premier dealer of American Arts and Crafts, Robert Kaplan, will present after a 19-year absence. Kaplan is responsible for building some of the most impressive museum and private collections devoted to the American Arts and Crafts. In celebrating his comeback, I would like to devote this post to some of the masterpieces included in his upcoming showcase. Kaplan, who is an expert on the American Arts and Crafts Movement as well as a collector, dealer, and friend, began his journey in the mid-1980s. He has since developed an incredible passion for the furniture and decorative arts of the movement, which came to produce the earliest manifestation of modern design in America.
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