Made to grace a Swedenborgian church in Cincinnati, Ohio, the rare windows were displaced when the church was razed in 1964 for highway construction. Stored in crates, the 8-foot windows were moved to parishioners' garages, basements, and a barn in Pennsylvania for 40 years. A minister opened the mysterious unmarked crates in 2001, and stunned by her discovery, she called a stained-glass expert who recognized Tiffany's characteristic opalescent glass, designs, and techniques, despite decades of grime. Church archives confirmed the attribution, and restoration of the angel windows began in 2004. Cleaning of the last window revealed Tiffany's signature and In Company with Angels, Inc., a nonprofit organization, was formed to preserve and exhibit the windows. Given that an estimated 50 percent of Tiffany Studios' church window production does not survive, rediscoveries—especially of a series such as the Seven Angels—is a significant event in the history of American glass.
The windows feature the hallmark of Tiffany's artworks, opulent jewel-toned and richly colored iridescent glass, called Favrile. Tiffany and his designers created unparalleled dramatic visual effects through the use of color and light, in a variety of materials. In addition to the backlit windows, the exhibition features decorative arts created in Tiffany's Studios—colorful lamps, vases, ceramics, enamels, metalwork, and furniture—drawn from the Museum's permanent collection and select loans. A special display will illustrate how intricate stained glass masterpieces are created.
The Swedenborgian faith is a Christian tradition, based on writings of 18th-century scientist Emanuel Swedenborg, which teaches that the purpose of human life is to prepare to live as angels in heaven, and holds that angels are present and contribute to daily life on earth. A person is in company with angels, though unaware, thus the relevance of the seven stained glass windows
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SOURCE Meyda Lighting
Munson-Williams Proctor Arts Institute