August 28, 2005

Union Station

Finally got to Union Station in St. Louis to see the opalescent era window there. I'd heard it was a good one to seek out.

The initial view about the main doorway to the Hyatt.

A straight-on view from the 2nd floor.
The figure on the left represents San Francisco, the figure on the right represents New York, and the figure in the center represents St. Louis.

a closer view

This window is apparently seen in the movie "Escape from New York". Part of the movie was filmed in Union station before its renovation.

Posted by Tom at 11:00 AM

August 24, 2005

Talk about adventures in a dangerous art.

A website featuring the stained glass computer case. This case, called Hemophilia, is bold in color if disturbing to read about -

... I titled this case “HEMOPHILIA” due to the red of the glass, my many wounds from working on this case, and the fact that I have hemophilia (a rare genetic blood disorder that hinders my blood from clotting.)...This case took 62 hours and 19 minutes to build during the span of three weeks. I received 9 nasty cuts, 5 burns and I consumed 464 oz. of Mountain Dew while creating this case. The Dew also works wonders on soldering-iron burns.

Posted by Tom at 12:47 PM

August 18, 2005

Met Museum Stained Glass

Nice selection of stained glass on the Met Museum website.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC remains my favorite museum of all.

Posted by Tom at 10:47 AM

August 16, 2005

SG Bandit follow up

Follow up on Stained glass bandit story from last spring - here and here.

Posted by Tom at 09:56 AM

August 08, 2005

more on Flickr

More on the photo sharing community phenomenon known as Flickr. I looked recently at the pool of images tagged with 'stained glass' - currently there are more than 2,600 images! Even if two thirds of those are of little or no interest (and many have no stained glass whatsoever), that leaves more than 800 images of stained glass that are of some interest. From looking for less than an hour it's clear that there is much to see for those interested in the design of stained glass windows.

from the curious -
from Ireland

to the conventional -
in chicago?

to the contemporary -
linz austria

Posted by Tom at 07:39 PM

August 03, 2005

Russell Kraus exhibit at Des Lee

This past weekend I went with my daughter to see an exhibit at the Des Lee Gallery of the work of Russell Kraus, who is best known in St. Louis as the man who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design and build a house in Kirkwood, Mo in the 1950's. The house is now part of the parks system and is open by appointment to the public. It turns out Kraus is quite an artist in his own right, working mostly in commercial art starting in the 1930's and eventually designing stained glass windows for the Jacoby and Frei studios in St. Louis after the 1960's. He is still around at 87 years old and was at the exhibit the day I went there.

The first section I visited was, of course, the stained glass sketches -

There was also a slide show with images from the stained glass and mosaic jobs he worked on over the years. This is one I thought interesting, though I believe it's just a sketch and not a finished window.

The other work was quite varied - early work in a kind of Robert Henri Ashcan-style, a little sculpture, WPA poster art, 1950's advertising art, small painted self portraits, even some jewelry -

one of the WPA era posters he designed -

The pieces that received the most critical attention -
A series of paintings of children, fairly recent -

These, in many ways, seem the most unique works of the artist. All the others tend to fit easily in some other category. The stained glass work looks likes typical conservative modernist design work of the 60's-80's, the WPA poster art is typical WPA poster work, the commerical art looks like typical 50's advertising art. But these children paintings are unique to my eye.
Most, like the one below, feature a full frontal image of a child with matching object or motif.

For the me the real richness of these works lies in the details - in this case,
the patternwork in the background. Even the frame construction is very precise and detailed.
There may be an element of 'Dare to be Tacky' in these paintings that appeal to me as well. Most artists would not go near this subject matter for fear of being extremely maudlin, overly cute and sentimental. Others would embrace the subject matter and would indeed make it maudlin, overly cute and sentimental. It seems to me he plays with the idea of cute and does it in a way that is not being sentimental himself and not being a social critic either. It's a delicate balance.

[update - Nice 30 minute video about Russell Kraus on Living St. Louis, from KETC. Scroll down to 'K' and click on 'Artist Russell Kraus']

[update, Dec 2008 - started a Flickrset of the photos from this exhibit. I had so many more details, especially of the children painting pictures, that I felt the need to post more.]

[update November 24, 2009 - Russell Kraus passed away November 8, 2009 - Rest in Peace]

[update November 25, 2009 - I found a Flickr site showing Russell Kraus's Frank Lloyd Wright desinged Usonian House in Ebsworth Park. You can barely see the stained glass, but it is noteworthy that this stained glass was not designed by FL Wright, but by Russell Kraus, with Wright's permission. A unique situation in Wright's work.]

Posted by Tom at 09:47 PM