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Hollyhocks, window from the Frederick Lothrop Ames House, Boston, Massachusetts

Artist
John La Farge, American, 1835–1910
Date
1882
Material
Leaded glass
Made in
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, North and Central America
Classification
Architectural elements, glassware
Current Location
On View, Gallery 127
Dimensions
87 1/4 x 37 1/4 x 2 3/4 in. (221.6 x 94.6 x 7 cm)
Credit Line
Funds given by the Decorative Arts Society in honor of the Twentieth Anniversary of the Friends of the Saint Louis Art Museum
Rights
Public Domain
Object Number
31:1972.1
NOTES
This window is one of a pair created for the redesign of the Frederick Lothrop Ames house in Boston. The windows contain John La Farge's revolutionary use of opalescent glass, significant because of the effects this "glowing white glass" had on light, color, and depth. The asymmetrical compositions and ornate floral patterns were inspired by La Farge's paintings and his enthusiasm for Japanese art. La Farge was an important painter, muralist, and decorator who shifted his artistic interests to the decorative possibilities of glass. His innovation lay in the way he exploited the characteristics of glass itself, manipulating, casting, and layering it to create myriad hues, textures, and depth, eliminating the traditional need for painted details.
c.1882 - c.1930
Frederick Lothrop Ames (1835-1893), Boston, MA; his family, by inheritance [1]

c.1930 - 1971
Edwin S. Webster, Boston, MA; his family, by inheritance [2]

1971/10/13 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased at auction, "Important Auction," Louis Joseph Auction Galleries, Inc., Boston, lot nos. 349 and 350, October 12-14, 1972 [3]


Notes:
This window is one of a pair of windows (31:1972.1, 31:1972.2). Both share the same provenance.

[1] Frederick Lothrop Ames purchased the existing residence at 306 Dartmouth Street, Boston, Massachusetts, in 1882, and commissioned architect John Hubbard Sturgis to remodel and enlarge the home; Sturgis in turn commissioned John La Farge to create a series of windows for the grand stairway. This pair (31:1972.1, 31:1972.2) flanked the fireplace on the second floor landing.

[2] Edwin S. Webster purchased the residence at 306 Dartmouth Street, c.1930; it remained in his family until the last Webster family member died in 1971; the house and estate were sold by the executors [Gloria Negri, "Small part of Bay State history readied for the auction block," Boston Globe, October 7, 1971].

[3] The windows were offered for sale at the second session, October 13, 1971; the auction catalogue title page includes the note: "Two Stained Glass Windows attributed to John LaFarge, removed for convenience of Sale from the Dartmouth Residence of the late Mrs. Edwin S. Webster of Boston and Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, by Order of he [sic] Executors." ["Important Auction, Featuring Items from the Estate of the Late Elizabeth Barr Kayser of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, by Order of the Chemical Bank," Louis Joseph Auction Galleries, Inc., Boston, October 12-14, 1971, title page]. The windows were removed by Orin Skinner, of The Connick Associates, before October 1971, through the auspices of the auction house, and were on view at the Louis Joseph Auction Galleries, Inc. for the sale [letter from Orin Skinner, dated April 30, 1987, SLAM document file; Negri article, see note [2]]. At this time, Louis Joseph Auction Galleries, Inc., was owned by Hartman, Inc. and Rare Art, Inc., of New York, whose names appear on the invoices sent to the Museum. Minutes of Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, April 17, 1972.
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