Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Melvin Rose, master craftsman and son of Cleveland's Rose Iron Works founder dies

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

"He was the custodian of one of the great legacies of the Arts and Crafts movement of Cleveland," said Stephen Harrison, curator of decorative arts and design at the Cleveland Museum of Art. "He wore that mantle with humility and pride, and that pervaded everything he did."

Harrison said that Melvin Rose continued to ensure that Rose Iron Works "became a haven for craftsmanship and artisanship when machines took over and began taking the men out of the craft."

In 2008, Melvin Rose was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize Lifetime Achievement Award for Design."

Cleveland should get more attention as a center of great craft manufacturing and industrial design.

A great in depth profile of The Rose Iron Works from The Plain Dealer

Rose had founded the company that bore his name in 1904, and Feher, who had moved here from Paris at his behest, would be his most famous colleague and collaborator. While the iconic screen was used to illustrate the breadth and depth of American Art Deco, you could also say, zooming in more tightly, that no one could write the history of design and architecture of 20th-century Cleveland without considering Rose Iron Works. "It's the best Art Deco ironwork ever done in the United States," says Henry Adams, an art historian and professor at Case Western Reserve University, who once devoted a graduate seminar to the firm's work. "Not only is their workshop extraordinary, but the story of Rose is the great American story."

Examples of the firm's artistry have been featured at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.

In Cleveland, the company's legacy penetrates the present and past -- whether manifested in elaborate dressing-room doors at Halle Bros. department store, the sculptural sign for the G.W. Mercer floral shop on West 25th Street or the gates of the Van Sweringen estate in Shaker Heights. Not far from the art museum, you can find an iron mural by Martin's son Melvin on the walls of the Cleveland Botanical Garden and an adjacent gate Melvin designed at the Western Reserve Herb Society.

Through the early 1950s, the company was one of the nation's leading designers and creators of ornamental and functional works, crafted in wrought iron, stainless steel, aluminum-copper alloys and glass.

Rose Iron Works website

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