Chagall’s windows are perhaps the most famous stained glass windows to a younger generation of Americans. Designed as a gift for Chicago mayor Richard Daly and displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chagall’s window have always served as a state side inspiration for some of the beautiful painted stained glass windows that Scottish Stained Glass has produced. The vibrant colors and great placement allow the light to sparkle with a special vibrancy.
While I haven’t gotten to see the stained glass since the restoration and redisplay mentioned in this article the one time I did see them, I remember thinking about how beautiful the combination of the paint and glass really were.
Below is an excerpt from the article in tablet. To read the full article click here..
“Back in 1977, when the windows were installed, the self-celebration was America’s, the work had been planned for the 1976 Bicentennial and conceived as a special gift to Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley, a man better known for encouraging his law enforcement officers to test their billy-clubs out on Yippies than for his adoration of the vitreous harmonics of stained glass. Daley died in May 1976 before he could see the windows in situ.
In June 1986, the windows got a big lift when Ferris Bueller and his inamorata, Sloane, stood in awe before them during a time-out on his energetic day off. The viewing area briefly became a hot dating spot for young Chicagoans. Five years ago the museum, about to begin the construction of a new gallery, dismantled the windows for cleaning and restoration, and late last year, amid much hoopla, they were put back on display, all bright and sparkly.
The major difference in the new installation is that the windows are no longer functioning windows in walls but free standing in front of actual windows. Stephanie D’Alessandro, a curator at the Institute, explained that now “the entire installation is lit with a special internal lighting system … to protect it from the elements and further wear and tear.” In terms of preservation, this is clearly good news; the extraordinarily vibrant blues, yellows, and reds will not fade or accumulate residue of any kind. On the other hand, much as I loved seeing the windows in their new setting, some subtle shift in ambiance accrues when they are presented, albeit for good reasons, more like paintings. This is not to say that the soaped up, washed off, and newly nitid panels aren’t stunning.”