The so-called “decorative arts"--everything from pottery to love seats--often fall into the abyss between the “high” arts and commerce. Putting furniture in museums to be gazed upon as art objects is a relatively modern notion.
The new Center for the Study of Decorative Arts in San Juan Capistrano is the first of its kind on the West Coast. Situated in a delightful cluster of Mission-style buildings centered on a patio garden, the center opens its doors with an exhibition titled “California Style: Collectors and Collections.”
The exhibition features room settings composed of the furniture, ceramics, needlework, textiles and other decorative arts.
“Because our homes and environments leave lasting impressions on our intellectual and spiritual growth, we are committed to (integrating) the history of furniture, architecture, decorations and gardens,” said center director G.P. (Gep) Durenberger.
The great social virtue of the decorative arts is the way they reassure us about the continuity of our culture. Unlike painting or sculpture, love seats comfort our bottoms rather than challenge our complacencies. Visitors to the center are certain to come away smiling with pleasure.