Stained Glass before 1700 in American Collections: Midwestern and Western States
From the Introduction to the 1989 publication
This third installment of the Checklist completes the Corpus Vitrearum survey of European leaded stained glass in U.S. collections, and includes indices to all three volumes. The intensive search for forgotten panels, conducted by the authors throughout the country over the past four years, has yielded some three hundred additions to the corpus as we had known it. These include two entire collections on the West Coast that are still being added to but the current status of which is given here; at the end of this volume a sizable Addendum to the first two volumes also is given (it contains 104 entries comprised of 201 units or fragments). Overall, the completed Checklist contains 1,177 entries comprised of 1,778 units or fragments. The supplementary checklist of roundels will add about 350 panels to this number. A microcosm of the history of collecting, of changing aesthetic attitudes and economic conditions, and of historicism and medievalism in America has emerged in the course of cataloguing this stained glass.
Stained glass as a collectors’ item
In its original cultural context most medieval stained glass was not collectable. It neither had commercial value, nor was it movable in other words, for the first five to six hundred years of its existence it was not a commodity. To be collected by wealthy Americans, beginning in the 1870s, stained glass first had to be removed from its monumental setting, then acquire a commercial value, and then be broken down into picture fields. Very few collections could house a work the size of the five-meter high window that was dispersed in a New York saleroom in 1936.
Religious, social, political, and artistic changes of the seventeenth through the early part of the twentieth centuries in Europe wrenched a good deal of glass from its monumental context. If the setting was a religious one then Protestant iconoclasm, the disestablishment of the church that followed in some countries, or the French Revolution sometimes accomplished that task. The classical revival, and even the restorations of the nineteenth century, also had drastic effects. If the setting was a domestic one, the deteriorating economy on the eve of the Great Depression of ten forced a sale.
Iconoclasm usually resulted in irreparable loss, because the fragments of smashed glass had no market value; but occasionally these fragments were gathered up out of abstemiousness and leaded into non-objective panels to keep out wind and rain. Some of these panels eventually found their way into collections, though as mere fragments they are accorded little attention here. The French Revolution apparently resulted in the alienation from some churches of whole sections of windows. For instance, the lowest meter of glass in the windows of the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris was removed to install shelving when the chapel served as a legal archive. A neoclassical disparagement of medieval art was also part of the context for such actions.
The collection of these now mobile ‘art objects’ began on a large scale in Europe about 1800, following the taste for Gothick in England. Glass from the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis was sold from the back door of the Musée des Monuments Français c. 1801-1803, and Sainte-Chapelle glass was disposed of at the same time. Much was taken to England, ending up in such places as Twycross parish church, and in the Italianate church built by Sidney Herbert and his mother the Countess of Pembroke and Montgomery in Wilton. Eventually three panels from the Judith Window of the Sainte-Chapelle entered the Philadelphia Museum of Art, though we do not know where they had been housed in the nineteenth century. A fragmentary panel, once associated with them and last heard of in a private collection in Florida, is now lost.
The restoration of churches, especially in the second half of the nineteenth century, made glass illicitly available to collectors, most of it having passed through the hands of the glass painters doing the repairs. By the end of the century, many restorers were also expert forgers. In addition to those in England, private collections in France, such as those of Baron Friedrich Spitzer and Octave Hornberg in Paris, and even in Russia, such as that of the Khanenkos of Kiev, were especially enriched in the period 1870-1910 with examples of early Gothic glass.
One way and another, religious, as well as secular, panels became available to the aristocracy. Whereas in England the Wilton glass remained in its new location, three other great collections wen eventually sold: That of Lord Sudeley of Toddington Castle, Gloucester, who specialized in small secular Swiss panels, was sold by auction in Munich in 1913, several panels eventually going to Detroit and Los Angeles. That of Sir William Jerningham of Costessey Hall, Norfolk, was dismantled in 1918 to be sold in its entirety to Grosvenor Thomas, and among the many panels now in America is the fifteenth-century Crucifixion in the Toledo Museum of Art. The collection of Sir Thomas Neave of Dagnam Park, Essex, passed onto the market at least in part through Thomas and Drake before 1923. Much of it has found a home here, such as the panel from Steinfeld Abbey that was rediscovered in the Harvard Museums, a good deal of Flemish glass in The Metropolitan Museum, and panels in Bloomington, Indiana, and Rochester, New York, as well as shields in Los Angeles, California, and in Louisville, Kentucky, that are catalogued here. Passing through these collections, medieval and Renaissance glass became part of a new heritage—it was expected among the furnishings of the English stately home, and continued to carry this aristocratic rather than ecclesiastical aura. It also was altered by restorations to conform to the current idea of Gothic, as seen for instance in the architecture added to a Soissons panel. Later social and economic changes often occasioned the sale of house furnishings, so that both the glass that had been acquired from churches and secular and armorial glass from domestic halls became collectors’ items.
The first phase of American collecting coincided with the extensive restorations of the Gothic churches that had occasioned the growth of European collections, but there seems to have been a preference initially for the Renaissance style. Isabella Stewart Gardner of Boston began buying about 1870 in Germany and Italy. Among her early purchases, in Nuremberg, were some small sixteenth-century panels including an exquisite scene from a Life of St. Benedict which is, in style, close to the workshop of Viet Hirschvogel that executed designs by Durer, Schäufelein and von Kulmbach. She also acquired several large panels from Milan Cathedral, where the glass was in restoration at the time, to be installed in her first house.
The Boston architect Arthur Rotch also bought Milanese panels at this time, and some Islamic glass, now installed in the architectural library of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A taste for later periods of glass, and for predominantly secular subjects, was shown by Dr. Francis W. Lewis of Philadelphia in 1880 when he acquired about fifty panels from a Swiss collector, all of them Kabinettscheiben—a nineteenth-century term derived from Kunstkabinetten, the rooms in the homes of collectors where they kept their works of art and in which they displayed these small domestic panels in the windows.
Another American who purchased stained glass around the turn of the century was the architect Stanford White (1853-1906), partner in the prolific firm of McKim, Mead and White. The quantity of glass that may have passed through his hands has not yet been estimated, although the pieces that were auctioned after his death from the house on 21st Street, New York, where he had lived since 1884, are at least documented, and some have been found. The most spectacular of them is the Mystical Passion Window from the Chateau de Boumois (Maine-et-Loire) now at Bob Jones University. Stanford White for a while was remembered as an eclectic decorator, but since recent interest in the firm has largely centered on their supposed adherence to classical and Renaissance principles, the use that he may have made of late medieval stained glass has been overlooked by architectural historians. White’s father was a friend of the stained-glass designer John La Farge, who later supplied at least one window for White’s patrons. Another formative influence seems to have been his early travels in Europe, judging by his glowing comments about Gothic cathedrals such as Dijon, Sens, and Reims. In the summer of 1905 White was in Europe again, purchasing works of art to decorate the Payne Whitney House on Fifth Avenue. He spent more than a quarter of a million dollars on his acquisitions, including stained glass from the Parisian dealer Raoul Heilbronner. These decorations included the great seventeenth-century panels from Pare Abbey that were auctioned off in 1942. Among White’s clients was at least one other collector of medieval glass, but Clarence MacKay’s “Harbor Hill” in Roslyn, Long Island, was built and decorated in 1900-1906 long before MacKay made his important purchases of glass in the Lawrence Sale of 1921. Charles McKim, partner in the firm, however, in what is supposed to be a purely Renaissance style building, the sumptuous J. Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, incorporated old glass into the design in 1902-1907.
In the contemporary mansions in Newport, huge Gothic windows were filled with fifteenth- and sixteenth-century glass. In Ochre Court, the Ogden Goelet house begun in 1888 by Richard Morris Hunt, the large perpendicular window of the grand stairway seems to have had some decorative glass, probably of the period, before the panels from the Rhenish Abbey of Boppard became available through the Spitzer sale of 1893. Its neighbor, Seaview Terrace ( 1927-1929), has glass brought from Washington by Edson Bradley, who had previously (1915) used it in his home there. He was a major buyer at the Stanford White sale in New York in 1907, although few of those pieces are in Seaview Terrace. In other cases, Kabinettscheiben, heraldic glass and roundels, were especially fashionable, glazed into lattice windows. The new American patrons wanted to emulate English manorial settings with genuine or reproduction glass. Examples of this type, usually with perpendicular or Tudor-style architecture, abound. Among those examined for this volume were the Salisbury House in Des Moines (Iowa), Bonniecrest in Newport (Rhode Island), and Sands Point, Nassau County (New York). According to one article in a popular magazine, this was “the Dignified Gothic Manner.” In most cases the modern supplements do not seem to have been conceived as forgeries, but were simply supplied to blend with the old glass.
In the second phase, early Gothic glass was preferred to Renaissance. Perhaps beginning in the late 1870s, Harvard’s Lampoon Castle had acquired some odds and ends of fifteenth- through eighteenth century English and Dutch glass. These were installed in the pseudo Tudor lights of the great hall, but in 1909 they seem to have been “lampooned.” An insignificant fake Canterbury fragment was installed in the last bay, with a disproportionately large inscription noting the gift, and below it a prominent modern panel acknowledging donations from Isabella S. Gardiner [sic] and William Randolph Hearst, among others. Opposite it is a later window that purports to be a gift of the Kremlin in memory of John Reed. Apparently, to the younger generation, old stained glass had become a joke. Elsewhere at Harvard, the Naumberg room which was installed in the Fogg Museum in 1929 has Swiss panels in the windows that have never been given the slightest attention-not even accession numbers. Small wonder that many of the residential halls of Princeton University have lattice windows with circular frames that are still blank, waiting for the roundels and shields that were never acquired. Yale, on the other hand, solved a similar problem by filling these compartments with contemporary glass in the Gothic manner. Mrs. Gardner, however, became a pioneer in Gothic taste by following Henry Adams’s advice in 1906 when she purchased a thirteenth-century window from Soissons. By the 1920s there were several active collectors competing for limited supplies of early glass, notably Henry C. Lawrence and John Gellatley in New York, and Raymond Pitcairn in Philadelphia, whose acquisitions have been discussed in prior volumes: the bulk of their collections dated before the mid-fourteenth century.
Their chief competitor was William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), who amassed collections on both coasts. Hearst was more conservative in that he bought enormous pieces, many of them post-medieval. His collection, on a gigantic scale, was not unlike the one formed at Costessey Hall in the prior century. He also acquired some very large French sixteenth-century grisaille windows and some of the pieces from Boppard that had been in the Spitzer collection in Paris before 1893. If this controversial figure had pretentions toward collecting “palaces and statues,” as they are termed in the Orson Welles film Citizen Kane (1951), instead of the medieval equivalents, castles and sculpture, it would be consistent with a taste formed, like that of Mrs. Gardner initially, by Eliot Norton whose lectures Hearst attended at Harvard in 1874-1887. It was not until the 1920s that his acquisitiveness for monumental works peaked, continuing through the years that he built San Simeon in southern California (1919-1925), restored St. Donat’s Castle in south Wales (1925 on), and finally rebuilt Wyntoon in northern California (1930). Very little stained glass, however, was ever installed in these locations, though some at St. Donat’s was sold to the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral for installation in the crypt and choir in 1956. Hearst’s amazing art collection included more than twenty-thousand items at the time of his death, even after many sales. He is said to have spent at least one million dollars per year on works of art for fifty years before 1941. His wife once said, as a means of explaining the vast quantity of her husband’s art objects, that “he seemed to buy things whenever he was worried.” But, those who have studied his collecting habits acknowledge that Hearst’s favorite diversion from his newspapers was the acquisition of works of art. He would buy whole collections, like the Palmer collection of stained glass. He had a host of agents who would buy for him at dealer’s shops, in order to keep the prices down that otherwise would have escalated had his name been associated with the purchase. He had other agents who bid for him at auction under assumed names but often he would overturn his own prearranged limits if the bidding went too high and bid himself, in order to secure an object.
Such competitive collecting encouraged specialized dealers. Large quantities of glass, as well as other medievalia, were handled by P.W. French & Co. in New York. Some of the houses that supplied the American collectors of the 1920s were based in France with branches in New York, like Brummer and Arnold Seligmann of Seligmann, Rey & Co. Others had temporary quarters here, like Demotte. French dealers like Bacri, Duveen, and Heilbronner were particularly successful in the American market. The Musée van Stalk in Haarlem seems to have deaccessioned a large collection of glass, of very uneven quality, to Seligmann, Rey, who passed it on to Hearst. Two sons of English glass-painters turned to full-time dealing, with a gallery in New York—Roy Grosvenor Thomas and Wilfred Drake. The English collections that were being sold off, notably those at Dagnam Park and Costessey Hall, passed through Thomas and Drake, largely to American buyers. The sumptuous catalogue of the Costessey collection by Wilfred Drake’s brother Maurice deliberately avoids the appearance of a sale catalogue (as does Demotte’s “exhibition catalogue” in New York), but is clearly an acknowledgment that scholarly publication, following the emphasis on connoisseurship in art history at that time, could enhance the value of art works. The commodity became so scarce eventually that even panels made up of fragments of different dates had a vogue; somewhat recalling the pieces leaded up after iconoclasm, they in fact probably incorporated restorers’ scraps, and have a more composed, self-conscious air. Some were even made up to demonstrate the history of glass painting.
A great deal has been learned about the middle-men, and the movement of glass, through some important documentary sources that have now become available to the research team of the American Corpus Vitrearum. One is the P.W. French & Co. photographs and card files, now being organized at the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, Santa Monica. Copies were studied by the authors in preparing this volume of the Checklist, and the information from them has been entered into the computerized data base. Another is the sale books kept in New York by Thomas and Drake, now in the possession of another glass painter, Dennis King of Norwich, which he generously allowed the Corning Museum to copy on microfilm (with a copy at The Cloisters, Corpus Vitrearum Archives). Almost all the glass listed in them has now been identified. A third is the Demotte photographs, bought at his death for The Cloisters, and containing large-scale detailed prints of most of the glass that went through his hands. The fourth is the Hearst archive, now well organized at C.W. Post University in Greenvale, New York, and available on microfiche. It includes records of the dealers from whom he purchased.
From these records Hearst had a very clear idea of what he owned. Most objects were photographed by his staff of photographers and recorded by assistants in large, loose-leaf notebooks. The accession numbers comprise a numeral assigned to a lot purchased at a specific time from a particular dealer, followed by an item number. Four of these notebooks, containing the original cataloguing, constitute the stained glass that was offered for sale at Gimbel’s New York Department Store in 1941.
In fact, much of Hearst’s collection was sold off in his lifetime. Up to now, we have catalogued one hundred eighty-five windows that he once owned. In addition, eight are known to have been completely destroyed in a fire at Forest Lawn, some were sent back to France by Hearst as gifts, and thirty more were purchased in 1939 by Sir William Burrell of Glasgow. Impressive as these figures may appear, however, they do not account for even half of the original collection; the remainder of the windows are still to be located.
When we began work on this catalogue three years ago, surprisingly little was known about Hearst’s collection except that one hundred ninety lots, most of them consisting of large and some of multiple-light windows, were sold by the Hammer Galleries at the Gimbel Brothers’ store in New York in 1941. Only sixty of these were illustrated in the published sale catalogue while the rest were listed in the broadest or vaguest of terms as “miscellaneous, The Virgin and Child, H. 74″ x W. 22 1/2″,” or “Spanish, XVI century, Stain Magdalen, H. 9’4″ x W. 2’9″,” to give two examples. This sale deserves further attention because although it came only three years after the completion of The Cloisters, which might have been expected to prolong the fashion for pseudo-medieval settings, it in fact marked a turning point in the taste for medieval art; the sale indeed appears to have been ill-timed.
By 1937, Hearst was in financial difficulties, and was also anxious to avoid the enormous inheritance taxes that he knew would face his five sons upon his death. For these reasons he began to liquidate his art collections with a series of auctions, beginning in 1937 and culminating in the 1941 Gimbel’s sale that was handled by the Hammer Galleries, in which 199 lots of stained glass were to be sold, the largest ever recorded by an American auction house. Most of the glass had come from the Hearst warehouse in the Bronx; despite his plans to include his stained glass with his armor at San Simeon, the huge collections had remained in storage.
The sale was very slow in spite of the unusual quarters and strenous publicity; all told, about half of the collection was disposed of. The Hearst files indicate an alarming drop in value compared with purchase prices of a decade and a half earlier, yet these changes are in line with the aftermath of the Depression. Typically, a panel bought for several thousand dollars in 1925-1930 was sold at Gimbel’s department store in 1941-1945 for a few hundred. By 1943 Gimbel’s was offering an across-the-board 80 percent reduction off the original cost of what remained of the Hearst glass collection and attempting to interest prospective buyers in purchasing items as memorials.
More significant is the lack of buyers. The 100,000 people who poured into Gimbel’s in the first week of the sale have been characterized as “curious mobs,” apparently not there to buy. Dr. Armand Hammer, who formed Hammer Galleries for this sale, became editor in 1943 of a magazine, The Compleat Collector, which carried his articles, sometimes under the pseudonym Braset Marteau; the publicity it ran included photographs of screen celebrities viewing the saleroom, and concentrated on traditional values. The editorial of March 1941 tried to revitalize the concept of the stately home by claiming its limitations as part of the American patrimony:
The Home is the oldest of all institutions—the first and last place toward which we turn—the pivot around which we live our lives. In the sense that the home is very old, likewise its furnishings are one of man’s oldest possessions . . . .
We have discovered we have a glorious past, and the discovery has stimulated us to investigate the lives and possessions of our ancestors.
The interest in all sorts of early articles both useful and decorative has tremendously increased throughout our land, until almost every cultured home shelters at least one member who collects or at least has some knowledge of those things which were made and put to daily use by our ancestors
Several factors were unfavorable to sales. Most important perhaps, memories of the recent Depression still promoted an atmosphere of caution where expenditures were concerned and art collecting appeared frivolous. Europe was at war in 1941 and the United States was soon to join the conflict. Hearst had been under attack as a “feudal baron.” His reactionary image even tainted medieval art by its association, here as in Nazi Germany. Furthermore, most of the glass consisted of large lancet windows, many over ten feet tall, which hardly qualified as collector’s items, and, it is said, could scarcely be viewed at the sale. Stained glass, moreover, began to go out of fashion in the 1920s with the close of the so-called “opalescent era” that had begun with Lafarge, despite efforts by Connick and Cram to create a taste for Gothic glass. By 1940 few private collectors wanted it and even fewer museums were willing to commit themselves to the problems that would ensue over space for its exhibition. Consequently, when Hearst died in 1951 there were still warehouses both in the Bronx and at San Simeon crammed with objects in their original packing crates.
The special problems involved in the installation of glass have affected its acquisition ever since it was pried loose from its original architectural setting. It was noted that in the early phases of private collecting in America the specific original context was often ignored, as when the Ten Commandments or several large subjects from the Passion were placed in hallways in the seaside resort of Newport. Meanwhile in European museums, closer attention to archaeology had encouraged the development of the “Period Room”; this concept inspired Barnard’s Cloisters which opened in New York in 1938. In recreated settings of this type chapels were glazed with religious windows, and paneled rooms or halls with secular glass. The Boston and the Philadelphia Museums, among others, reassembled and completely furnished several chapels. When glass was scarce the dealers complied with the need by furnishing whole windows that were of one period, with large figures in the main lights, and smaller ones in the tracery. The Detroit Institute of Arts offers another typical confection in its chapel from the Chateau of Lannoy (Lorraine), with late Gothic glass from another site presented in a modern ornamental frame by the Willet Studios of Philadelphia. A number of such projects were never completed, however. The late Gothic glass that the Philadelphia Museum purchased from the collection of George Grey Barnard after his death in 1938 has never been installed, and in storage it is a fragile liability. The Detroit Institute of Arts never resumed construction of period rooms after the acquisition of suitable pieces from Hearst; instead a modern wing was added, and the Hearst cases remained unopened in storage. The new wing of the Walters Art Gallery, built a decade ago, accommodates only the thirteenth-century items in the stained glass collection, leaving the late glass in storage.
It is therefore not surprising that from the private collections a good deal of glass passed into churches by gift. We have seen that Hammer proposed its use as memorials. Perhaps this idea, together with the bargain prices, influenced Dr. Hubert Eaton’s purchase for Forest Lawn Memorial Park some thirteen years after Gimbel’s sale, when he bought many of the same windows offered at the reduced price in New York as well as others in storage in the warehouses at San Simeon. One large window from the Hearst collection eventually was used as a memorial in a Protestant church in Nowata, Oklahoma, and another is in the First Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Larger installations of late glass are in the Cathedrals of Detroit and Cleveland. Clarence MacKay bequeathed his glass to a Catholic abbey where some of it is in the windows of the monks’ chapel and cloister, the refectory, and corridors. These panels have thus been returned to their religious setting, natural lighting, and essentially non-commercial status. They are also returned to the exterior environment, with the risk of deterioration through the attack of the elements; exterior protective glazing is employed, here as in Europe, and in some cases vented interior protection as well.
A new wave of scholarship has been spurred by the international Corpus Vitrearum effort, and by the first large stained-glass exhibitions in American museums. Several museums, such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Cleveland Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum, and the Speed Museum, as well as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, have recently expanded their installations of glass.
We also have entered the post-modern era. One new collector on the West Coast is moving huge living trees in order to add wings to his 1920s Gothic mansion. The windows will be filled with medieval stained glass, including a shipment of fifty Swiss panels, bringing the history of collecting glass in America full circle in the space of a hundred years.
The formation of the midwestern and western collections
Had the Hearst collection remained intact on the West Coast it would have dominated this Checklist en bloc, as did the holdings of The Cloisters and The Metropolitan Museum in Checklist I and the Glencairn Museum in Checklist II. As it is, undoubtedly the most exciting discoveries reported here are those related to the dispersion of that collection. The sale at Gimbel’s contributed to its dispersion, but there were earlier and subsequent sales, both private and public, as well as Hearst’s many gifts to institutions. Purchases of Hearst stained glass, some recorded in sale catalogues and others unpublished, have been found throughout the country. Among the museums already catalogued that contain Hearst pieces are the Higgins Armory in Worcester, Massachusetts (one piece); The Cloisters (one window); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (one window); Oberlin College Art Gallery (one panel); and Bob Jones University Art Gallery, Greenville, South Carolina (two windows). Other locations include Saint David’s School in New York City which was given a window for its chapel by Mrs. Hearst and the Monastery of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, North Miami Beach (two panels). Among those now added are: the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri (three windows); the Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan (seven windows); the First Presbyterian Churches in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (three windows) and in Nowata, Oklahoma (one window); and the J.B. Speed Museum, Louisville, Kentucky (twelve heraldic panels). Three thirteenth-century windows which are said to have gone to a frame church in Wyoming have not been located. The most unusual discovery, however, was the twenty-six large windows that were found in 1985 at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California. Dr. Hubert Eaton, founder and director of the Memorial Park, had collected a few original works of art together with the many copies, principally of Michelangelo’s work, that he commissioned to decorate the mausoleums of the park. Some Hearst furniture and sculpture had been purchased at the Gimbel sale to furnish the reception office. It was not until 1956, however, that Eaton decided to create a Sainte-Chapelle by using stained glass that he acquired from the leftovers of the Hearst sale at Gimbel Brothers. Eaton planned to use the windows in the walls of a chapel entered from the arcade of the Esplanade behind the Hall of the Crucifixion. The rectangular structure was to have windows on the three sides, and be large enough to contain all of the Hearst glass. The glass was stacked on frames ready to be installed when the structure, faced with plywood, was completely destroyed by fire. The glass was more or less severely damaged, and in some cases incinerated. The circumstances under which the fire took place have never been precisely determined but arson has been suspected. Thus this glass, much of it long sought by scholars, was found too late to study intact. Fortunately, among the surviving pieces is a window from the Tucher house in Nuremberg, probably executed from drawings by Dürer, but among the tragic losses is a three-light window from Boppard by the same painter as the one in The Cloisters. The records of the destroyed glass, however, have provided valuable information. For instance, the Hearst photographic files record panels dated 1497 with Saints Christopher and Roch, which clearly match a Saint Anthony Abbot now in Tempe, Arizona, and thus give it a date and provenance.
During his lifetime Hearst had been singularly responsible for enriching the collections of California museums with his gifts, creating on the West Coast a repository of stained glass that, in the case of heraldic panels at least, equals the older collections of the eastern seaboard. The largest single gift was that made to the Los Angeles County Museum in 1945. Included in it were sixty-nine panels of stained glass, most of them Swiss heraldic pieces of the sixteenth century, but also a few French medieval panels and some seventeenth-century Dutch pieces. Additional panels, among them several large ensembles of French Renaissance glass, were given to the M.H. De Young Museum in San Francisco at about the same time. Except for two grisaille windows that have been exhibited, however, this gift had never been unpacked; the glass is published here for the first time. The San Diego Museum received a large window that has proved to be a pastiche composed of a mixture of new glass and old glass considerably repainted.
Several other collectors contributed to the growth of midwestern museums. Another publisher whose largess provided stained glass for his home-town museum was George G. Booth. Not born to wealth as was his colleague Hearst, Booth began in the ornamental iron works business and then married Ellen Scripps, daughter of the founder of the Detroit News. He and his brother Ralph Harman Booth were major patrons of the arts; George founding the Cranbrook Academy as well as giving five Swiss panels of remarkable quality to the Detroit Institute of Arts. Under the careful guidance of William R. Valentiner, Mary and Ralph Harman Booth made substantial donations to the museum, among them important panels of German stained glass. In 1958, with the financial support of K.T. Keller, a very large number of German and French figural panels, and English heraldic glass were purchased from the Hearst estate. The Detroit collection now ranks as America’s fifth largest, after those of The Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Pitcairn collection in Bryn Athen, the Philadelphia Museum, and the Los Angeles County Museum.
The Art Institute of Chicago, with a much smaller number of stained glass panels, owes its collection almost entirely to Martin A. Ryerson and his wife. Ryerson, with a fortune inherited in lumber and an incredibly keen eye for art, together with his best friend Charles Hutchinson, virtually founded and ran the Art Institute. Hutchinson was its president and was later succeeded in that office by Ryerson, its vice president. They went to Europe together with their wives every year to collect art. Although much of this activity was devoted to paintings, some carried over into the decorative arts and to stained glass. Chicago’s other collector of stained glass was Kate Buckingham, whose interest was in the collection of decorative arts of the Gothic period. Like her friend Florence Blumenthal of New York, Miss Buckingham was interested in furnishings and it was the decorative arts of her Gothic hall that she presented to the Art Institute, including the stained glass in its windows .
Perhaps the most splendid room furnished with European stained glass windows that has ever been given to an American museum, however, is the Elizabethan hall, the bequest of Preston Pope Satterwhite to the J.B. Speed Museum in Louisville. The heraldic glass that now fills the windows is not original to the room but, rather, was collected from diverse sources, including Hearst and Mrs. Whitelaw Reid, both of whom made their purchases from the Thomas family of dealers. Dr. Satterwhite was not a resident of Louisville, although both he and his wife were born there and he is buried there. It was through Mrs. Satterwhite that her husband was convinced to leave his sizable medieval collection to the then youthful Speed Museum at his death in 1948.
Of the midwestern museums, one of the youngest, yet most com prehensive in scope, is the Cleveland Museum of Art. It was not founded until 1913 and did not open its doors until 1916. By 1919, under its first director Frederic A. Whiting, the museum made its first purchases of stained glass. During the tenure of his successor, William M. Milliken, three collections of stained glass, two belonging to the Mather family, members of the Board of Trustees, and one from Jeptha H. Wade, descendant of the founder of the museum, have been added to the museum’s holdings. Cleveland’s interest in collecting stained glass continues to the present with several purchases made under the directorship of Sherman E. Lee. Glass has always been a special concern of the Toledo Museum of Art. Older by more than a decade than its sister institution in Cleveland, the Toledo Museum was the idea of a drinking group known as the Tile Club. Among its members were George W. Stevens, who was to become the first director of the museum, and Edward Drummond Libbey, its chief patron. Libbey had begun his career in the New England Glass Company in Massachusetts. When that company failed, Libbey moved to Toledo where, with Michael Owens, an inventor, he set up one of America’s greatest glass companies. Libbey’s wife gave the land for the new museum and her husband gave money. He also bequeathed it his collection and more money, as did his wife. In addition to the Libbey collection of glass vessels, one of the finest in this country, Edward Drummond Libbey’s bequest has provided the museum with funds for several purchases of stained glass.
Purchases of collections by midwestern museums have been less common, but two other important public institutions have secured their not inconsiderable collections of stained glass in this way. The St. Louis Art Museum, supported by municipal taxes, opened its doors in 1909 and slowly but steadily began purchasing stained glass as early as 1920. Contained in this collection are two of the most important French windows of around 1200 in America. The collection in Kansas City is no less rich in its holdings of fifteenth century glass, numbering among its possessions the only window in this country by Peter Hemmel, Germany’s foremost glass painter of the fifteenth century. America’s newspaper publishers seem to have been drawn to art collecting and among them was William Rockhill Nelson, publisher of the Kansas City Star and founder of the museum that bears his name. The Nelson Gallery, joined with that of its cofounder, Mary Atkins, was not opened until 1933 and, as such, is one of the youngest of America’s great museums. Two factors have contributed to the creation of its extraordinarily good glass collection: first, the time of its foundation in the midst of the Depression when competition in the art market was scarce, a condition that continued through the war years and allowed the Nelson Gallery to buy from the Hearst sale; and second, the founder’s stipulation that no work by a living artist was to be acquired for the museum, forcing concentration on the art of earlier periods, including stained glass.
Largely as a result of the redistribution of the late Gothic and Renaissance glass that had belonged to Hearst, and also no doubt because of the unavailability of earlier glass when these midwestern and western collections were being formed, the holdings catalogued here are largely of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century date, with a preponderance of English heraldic and Swiss panels; but there are great strengths in German glass of the fifteenth century, and one important piece is added to the rare examples of Italian glass of that period. The well-known panel attributed to Peter Hemmel, now in Kansas City, has already been mentioned; but another in his style was confirmed on close examination to be essentially nineteenth century, though a few fragments of late medieval glass were incorporated. Also associated with Cologne or the Rhineland are several large panels and a series of prophets in the Detroit Institute of Arts, and another figure from Boppard, as well as other panels in Detroit and San Francisco.
Also well represented are the famous Nuremberg workshops; in addition to the window from the private chapel of the Tucher family, mentioned above, there is an exquisite Crucifixion from 1514 in the Detroit Institute of Arts which was included in the Nuremberg exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1986. Related in style, but as yet without a secured provenance, are several magnificient christological scenes in Forest Lawn. Included among the addenda is a piece in East Hampton, New York, that may have been designed by Dürer.
Other attributions have been suggested, although the relationship of the designer or graphic source to the glass painting is not always easy to define. For instance, the source for two Passion scenes in the San Diego Museum of Art, California, has been recognized in drawings by Holbein, yet the glass was executed at least a century later so that there was no direct contact with the designing artist.
This situation is quite diff erent from that of Hirschvogel executing designs by Dürer or von Kulmbach. Dierick Vellert is another graphic artist and designer whose work seems to be represented here, in two Old Testament scenes in Cleveland. The full extent of the impact of graphic sources on stained glass will be explored in Checklist IV. At least four series of large panels are good examples from the sixteenth-century Franco-Flemish workshops: the design for a window in San Francisco is attributed to Michel Coxcie on the basis of its similarity to the Loves of Psyche from the Chateau of Ecouen, and to a Life of Saint Anne and the Virgin in Gisors. A piece in the Detroit Institute of Arts proved, after close examination on both sites, to be a largely original counterpart of a replica now in Saint Patrice in Rouen. A series of standing saints is divided between Forest Lawn and San Francisco; and grisaille Old Testament panels in Forest Lawn that were formerly in the Spitzer collection have already been mentioned. From fifteenth-century France, the rediscovered panels from Loisy-en-Brie that passed through the Monell collection are noteworthy, now divided between the Axt collection in Altadena, California, and Kansas City; but Christ before Caiaphas has not been found.
Some explanation is needed for the inclusion of a few pieces of eighteenth-century date, in the Speed Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, in the Harvard Lampoon Castle, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in a private collection in California. Their exclusion seemed arbitrary, in that the terminus ante quem of 1700 was intended to separate collectors’ items of European provenance from glass made for American buildings. In this context one earlier shield deserves mention: The arms of John Winthrop of Groton, who was a Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, are in the Detroit Institute of Arts. The shield in Detroit is Winthrop impaling Compton, for his second wife who died before he left for Salem. Thus, the probability that the shield was made for a European setting warrants its inclusion here. So too, the heraldic panels now in the New-York Historical Society had been found in a house in the city, but were surely of European manufacture.
Discoveries and lost pieces
As in prior volumes, some satisfaction is gained from noting panels that once belonged together. Yet another twelfth-century piece from Troyes has been recognized, in Queen’s College, New York, adding to the number so far inventoried. The origin has not yet been found for some thirteenth-century grisaille fragments that have come to light in Mama Leone’s Restaurant in New York (thanks to the watchfulness and persistence of Ellen M. Shortell), in San Francisco’s De Young Museum (no. 55270B), and a related piece in Brooklyn; nor for three sections of a grisaille window in Connecticut and Rhode Island, reported in the addenda here. The latter are associated with pastiche representations of the Visitation and the Flight which have exact counterparts in the nineteenth-century glazing of Notre-Dame of Paris. Two well-preserved but unpublished scenes from an early life of the Virgin, now in Forest Lawn, are added to the well-known early fourteenth-century figures under canopies from the Abbey Church of Evron, Mayenne. Also from France, the long-sought Crucifixion window from Flavigny was brought to our attention after the publication of Checklist I. It was discovered in the Catholic Church in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Among English heraldic glass catalogued in this volume, shields from Warkworth, Northamptonshire, are divided between the Speed Museum in Louisville and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Discoveries of more glass from the Carmelite Cloister of Boppard were hoped for on the basis of the Hearst archives. It was a great disappointment to find that all but a few fragments of the reclining Jesse and the St. James Window had been destroyed in the Forest Lawn fire. An unexpected addition is the poorly preserved group with the figure of St. John from the Jesse Tree Window, which was recognized in Newport and is presented in the addendum here. The accompanying Crucifixion, mentioned in the Spitzer collection, was never photographed and has not been found. Also catalogued here, however, are the Marys from the Crucifixion in the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Archangel Michael in the De Young Museum, San Francisco.
We have not yet made a systematic inventory of the glass that has been lost since it passed through American salerooms and collections, but a few outstanding examples have already been referred to, and others are worth mentioning since they may yet be recognized. One enigma is the many panels reproduced, with very little information on them, as illustrations to a general book on stained glass published in New York in 1922 by Grosvenor Thomas’ friend Alfred Werck; he states that many are in collections, but none are known to us. Among pieces handled by Demotte almost a decade later was a panel with women bearing candles in procession from a Presentation in the Temple, quite possibly a genuine pendant to the scene preserved from Saint-Denis; other lost Demotte pieces are illustrated here. The missing Loisy-en-Brie scene that changed hands in New York in 1930 and was probably sold again at Gimbel’s about 1945 has been mentioned. Of the great Marian window that passed through Rains Galleries, New York, in 1936, referred to above, only one panel has been identified, the Annunciation in Princeton. And, in addition to the considerable amount of Parc glass that is known to us in several collections, important panels that changed hands in the U.S. between 1907 and 1943 remain unlocated.
This Checklist of Stained Glass is only a pre-corpus; during the course of more detailed cataloguing no doubt some of these pieces, and others, will come to our attention. We would be glad to hear of any original pieces that have been omitted. The full catalogue by Jane Hayward of the holdings of European stained glass in The Met ropolitan Museum’s collections is already well advanced, and will comprise a large volume, complete with restoration charts and comparative illustrations. Work is also proceeding on the Glencairn Museum collection by Michael Cothren, on the Detroit Institute of Arts by Virginia Raguin, on upstate New York by Meredith Lillich, on the Cleveland Museum by Helen Zakin, as well as New England by Madeline Caviness. Collections that do not comprise a full volume will appear in fascicules. A publication schedule is placed at the end of this installment of the Checklist.
President, Corpus Vitrearum (USA)
Madeline H. Caviness
President, International Board, Corpus Vitrearum