Added to this, he was familiar from years of study abroad with all the
master workers' achievements, in glass as well as in other modes of
artistic expression. He seemed possessed of an intuitive sense of the
value of convention in restraining realistic representations in
a stained glass window. Of his earlier work, the windows in the Church
of the Ascension, New York City, are perhaps the best expression of his
The magnificent "Peacock Window" in the Worcester
Museum, by la Farge, is universally considered a master-work in pure color.
"It is the very poetry of stained glass-- realized in a medium obstinate,
but made to serve the designer's purpose as readil;y as pigment serves it."
"Finding European material not dense enough," we
are told, "Mr. La Farge produced potmetal more heavily charged with color.
This was wilfully streaked, mottled and quasi-accidentally varied; some
of it was opalescent; much of it was more like agate or onyx than jewels.
Other forms of American enterprise were: the making of glass in lumps, to
be chipped into flakes; the rucking it; the shaping it into a molten state,
or the pulling it out of shape. It takes an artist of some reserve to make
judicious use of glass like this. La Farge and L. C. Tiffany have turned
it to beautiful account."
Mr. La Farge's work in glass shown at the Paris
Exposition of 1889 won for him the meal of honor from the French Government.
Immediately following this recognition, great interest in American glass
developed in this country. Churches and private houses were enriched with
windows of many different styles by artists of varying ability.
Inharmonious windows in many buildings in the
land were made wit no consideration for their surroundings or each
and do not truly represent the art of American stained glass, but
there are capable artist workers in the United States who under proper
conditions have made and can make windows worthy to be classed among the
best achievements of the art of modern stained glass. Notable among the
stained-glass makers of the country are the workers directed by Louis
Comfort Tiffany, artist and designer, in whose studios in New York and
on Long Island veritable masterpieces have been executed within recent
years for the adornment of American churches, public buildings and homes.
Mr. Tiffany studied painting with John La Forge. "With his efforts,"
says a writer in the International Studio, "the development of
potmetal has given results in the texture, form and color of opalescent
glass never before attained, and has resulted in such a rebirth and
advancement of the craft as to make it actually an American departure.
The company, designing and executing all its work from preliminary
sketch to the final installation, has through a course of years
perfected a method of building up the glass window with super-imposed
cuttings carefully selected for color, that has resulted in making a
standard with which to compare other efforts. Of the recent work of
this house a good proportion has been in domestic designs. This is
not to say that the most considerable work in stained glass is not still
undertaken for institutional decoration." Noteworthy memorials
executed in Tiffany favrile glass are the thirteen windows for the
New First Presbyterian Church, in Pittsburgh, and the windows in the
Women's College of Baltimore, in the Russell Sage Memorial Church, Far
Rockaway, N.Y., the Masonic Chapel, Utica, N.Y., and in the Public
Library, Winchester, Mass.