from the Cordelia A. Culbertson house, 1911-1913 height 90in (228.5cm); width 146in (371cm); depth 15 1/4in (38.7cm)
In terms of furniture, the finest development and achievements of the Arts & Crafts movement ideal appeared in the work of Charles and Henry Greene.
The firm of Greene & Greene was established in Pasadena in January 1894. Over the next ten years, the practice expanded as commissions grew. In 1911 the Culbertson sisters commissioned Charles and Henry to design a large residence in the fashionable Oak Knoll district across from the Robert R. Blacker House. Although relatively modest in appearance from the street, this project was one of the Greene's largest and most extensive commissions, ultimately costing in excess of $150,000 significantly more than the cost of the either the better-known Gamble House or the Blacker House.
The Culbertson House was the last significant commission in the history of Greene & Greene as the family had authorized the brothers to design the total interior and furnishings. It is generally regarded as the epitome of their classicizing aesthetic, which is clearly reflected in the bookcase.
Constructed of dark mahogany and stripped of almost all ornamentation, several of Charles Greene's characteristic embellishments come to light the stylized floral-carved bosses, the purity and restraint of the Arts & Crafts mullions and the characteristic 'cloud'-form treatment to the interior shelving are all signature features of Greene & Greene's final ethereal accomplishment in the Culbertson commission.
It is believed this bookcase was purchased at a house sale held in 1948 where the original furnishings of the Culbertson house were dispersed.
A period photograph located in the Environmental Design Archives, the University of California at Berkeley, shows the cabinet in the hallway of the Cordelia A. Culbertson house.