William Keyser furniture and ecclesiastical objects

RIT Art Collection

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Biographical Information for William Keyser
Scope and Content
Arrangement
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials
Bibliography

Collection Overview (Collapse)

Title
William Keyser furniture and ecclesiastical objects
Creator
Keyser, William
Inclusive Date(s)
circa 1970-1985
Abstract
William Keyser furniture contains 12 ecclesiastical pieces created for RIT Campus Ministries. There is 1 additional piece, Soaring Shelf, at one time displayed in the RIT President's Office.
Extent
10.0 Item(s) (1 sculptural shelf, 2 altars, 2 lecterns, 2 credence tables, 2 crosses, 1 ark of the covenant)
Dimensions note
Pieces vary in size: 29.5 x 21.5 inches to 18 x 1 feet
Location
RIT Art Collection
Repository
RIT Archive Collections
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York, 14623
(585) 475-2557
raswml@rit.edu
Language
English

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Biographical Information for William Keyser (Collapse)

William Keyser Jr. graduated with an MFA in furniture design from RIT in 1961, and began teaching in the School for American Craftsmen (SAC) the following year. Numerous examples of Keyser's work can be seen on RIT's campus. Although he has been commissioned to design furniture for private homes, businesses, and public art installations, he is best known for his ecclesiastical pieces.

In 1970, three School for American Craftsmen faculty were commissioned by the RIT Women's Council to create furnishings used to transform Ingle Auditorium into a place of worship each weekend. William Keyser, Donald Bujnowski, and Hans Christensen contributed to this effort. Keyser created a walnut altar, lectern, credence table, cross, and ark of the covenant. These pieces, along with those by Bujnowski and Christensen, are now in the Schmitt Interfaith Center.

Keyser remained at SAC for the next 35 years until his retirement in 1997. He returned to RIT as a student and earned an MFA in painting in 2006.

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Scope and Content (Collapse)

William Keyser furniture and ecclesiastical objects contains 12 ecclesiastical pieces created for RIT Campus Ministries. A walnut altar, lectern, credence table, cross, stool, 2 chairs and ark of the covenant for the Allen Memorial Chapel, and an oak altar, lectern, credence table, and processional cross for the Jones Memorial Chapel all reside in the Schmitt Interfaith Center on the RIT campus. As for his design, Keyser has stated, "Catholics prefer a cross with a corpus or what's known as a crucifix, while most Protestant denominations eliminate the body and prefer it to be just a cross, so I ended up designing the piece with a very abstract image so people can choose to see what they want to see - or not." 1 The walnut altar, lectern, credence table, cross, 2 liturgist chairs were originally crafted for religious services in Ingle Auditorium prior to the creation of the Schmitt Interfaith Chapel.

An additional piece, Soaring Shelf, was at one time displayed in the RIT President's Office. This sculptural shelf measures some 18 feet long.

1 "William Keyser Crafts a New Direction," by Marcia Murphy. University Magazine, Winter 2009-2010.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

The collection consists of 12 items.

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Keyser, William

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rochester Institute of Technology -- Art collections.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology -- Faculty.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology. School for American Craftsmen.

Subject(s)

  • Art -- Study and teaching -- New York (State) -- Rochester
  • Handicraft -- Study and teaching -- New York (State)

Genre(s)

  • Furniture

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

Preferred Citation

William Keyser furniture, RIT Art Collection

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open to researchers.

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Administrative Information (Collapse)

Collection ID

RITArt.0020

Accession Information

Accession number(s):

Source of Acquisition

Altar pieces a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Harris and the RIT Women's Council.

Processional Cross a gift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo F. Smith

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in August 2011.

Revision Description

 Lisa Witt added 2 chairs and a stool to the collection. 22 October 2013

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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Bibliography (Collapse)

William Keyser at Art on Campus, Rochester Institute of Technology

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