Radiance Rediscovered: Stained Glass by Tiffany and La Farge
June 30, 2018 – July 7, 2019
This exhibition is centered on two sets of exquisite memorial windows created by Louis C. Tiffany and John La Farge, which have not been on view for more than 40 years. Originally commissioned for Boston's Mount Vernon Congregational Church in the late 1890's, the large stained-glass works were donated to WAM in 1975 when the church vacated its building. The year-long exhibition opens on June 30, 2018 with the windows by Tiffany installed in the Contemporary Gallery. The panels by La Farge, which require additional restoration, will join the Tiffany windows in late September 2018. This exhibition is the first of three pre-contemporary American art projects supported by major funding from the Henry Luce Foundation.
The Tiffany windows, titled Angel of Resurrection (1899; 90 x 37 inches), show an angelic figure among a field of lilies. The La Farge panels, titled The Pool at Bethesda (1898; 133 3/8 x 31 7/8 inches), depict a scene from the New Testament, in which an angel of God stirs the healing waters of the pool at Bethesda. The windows are remnants of the American Gilded Age, an era that saw rapid economic growth and development—and a boom in church construction that also brought along a resurgence of interest in stained glass for its beauty and power in conveying narrative. Both sets of panels are undergoing extensive conservation work, to clean the glass and ensure the stability of their mountings, so that new audiences can experience the intricacies and vibrancy of their designs.
The exhibition also features other works that highlight the artists' creative visions and techniques, as well as their aesthetic influences, from paintings and works on paper to Favrile glass. Among these works is La Farge's experimental Peacock Window (1892–1908)—another work in WAM's collections—which simulates the vibrant coloration of the magnificent, exotic bird, and is the last example of La Farge working with the challenging process of cloisonné glass.
This exhibition is generously supported by the Henry Luce Foundation and the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.
Additional corporate support is provided by: