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Macklowe Gallery Decorative Arts Catalog 2019
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Art Institute of Chicago Acquires Monumental Tiffany Glass Window “Light in Heaven and Earth” —  3/2/2020

The Art Institute of Chicago announced today the acquisition of an extraordinary memorial window, attributed to Agnes F. Northrop and made by Tiffany Studios in 1917. Originally commissioned for the Central Baptist Church (now known as Community Church of Providence) as the gift of Mary L. Hartwell in memory of her husband, Frederick W. Hartwell, the window is a pinnacle achievement in the medium of stained glass.

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Art Institute President and Eloise W. Martin Director James Rondeau shared: “It is with great pride we welcome this transformative work of art into the collection, an object that demonstrates the highest level of achievement in American glass production and exemplifies our ongoing commitment to excellence. Tiffany Studios became synonymous with radiant materials and technical brilliance, and this monumental work of stained glass by the firm is an unparalleled example of beauty, ingenuity, and universality. Prominently installed in our galleries, with the rich architectural history of Chicago as a stunning backdrop, this singular work will certainly inspire visitors and undoubtedly has the power to become one of the museum’s icons.”

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The design of the window is attributed to Agnes F. Northrop, the firm’s leading landscape window designer. At twenty-three feet high by sixteen feet wide, and made up of 48 different panels, the scene depicts a distant view of Mount Chocorua, one of the most beloved peaks of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Numerous landscape painters including Thomas Cole and John F. Kensett memorialized the mountain as a powerful symbol of the American landscape. In its scale, intricacy of design, and complexity of glasswork, it is one of the largest and most ambitious landscape window projects ever undertaken by Tiffany Studios.

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This majestic window had been housed in the sanctuary of the Community Church of Providence. Speaking on behalf of the church, Pastor Evan Howard noted: “Our congregation decided to find a new home for the window where it could be experienced by a broad public audience that includes scholars, artists, and visitors from around the world. The church approached a number of different museums and ultimately selected the Art Institute of Chicago as the ideal institution to care for and display the window.” Added Pastor Howard, “We are extremely pleased that this exceptional work of art has entered such a renowned collection.”

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