Monday, June 24, 2019

The History of the Smith Stained Glass Museum at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois, from 2000-2014.

The Smith Stained Glass Museum opened in February of 2000 and is the first museum in the United States dedicated solely to stained glass windows. The exhibit opened under a 10-year art loan agreement signed in 1997 and then was extended with a series of one-year agreements.
A detail view of the Field of Lilies (c.1910) window, one of 18 windows unveiled at the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows at Navy Pier which including 15 windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The collection was donated by Maureen Dwyer Smith and Edward Byron Smith Jr., whose family founded Illinois Tool Works and Northern Trust.
Museum Visit - Phillip McCullough, of Mississippi, visits the Smith Museum of Stained Glass at Navy Pier.
The exhibit was open year round and was free to all Navy Pier visitors and had 143 stained glass panels/windows on display featuring both secular and religious art. The windows were divided into four categories: Victorian, Prairie, Modern, and Contemporary. Local, national, and international artists designed the windows, including Louis Comfort Tiffany, John LaFarge, Ed Paschke and Roger Brown.
Tiffany Windows - from left: Pair of Poppies (c.1890) and Field of Lilies (c.1910).
Debbie Carithers, of Table Grove, Illinois, looks at Pair of Poppies (c.1890) during an unveiling of 18 new pieces at the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows at Navy Pier.
From 1870 to the present, the windows depict landscapes, nursery rhymes, and historic moments.They represent an era of intense urban revision that featured the development, decline and revitalization of neighborhoods, the development of commercial and cultural institutions, the evolution of artistic styles, and the response of various ethnic groups to these changes.
A detail view of Bacchanalia (c.1900) at the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows.
The religious windows reveal the national and ethnic styles of Chicago’s European immigrants, while the residential windows display the history of architecture and decorative art styles.
Carpenter Liam Stewart works on the installation of this large stained glass piece, Printer's History, (c.1914), at the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows.
The museum also displayed unique contemporary pieces including stained glass portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Michael Jordan as well as several pieces of Tiffany stained glass dating as far back as 1890. The museum contained the largest public display of Tiffany windows in the world!
Glass Cleaning - Brian Selke, assistant conservator with Restoration Division, LLC, cleans an American stained and painted glass window that will be boxed up at Navy Pier. The piece is by designers Elizabeth Parsons, Edith Blake Brown and Ethyl Isadore Brown for the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition.
The collection was on display in an unconventional space that snakes along Navy Pier's lower level, and can appear at first glance more like a well-decorated hallway than a museum. The 800-foot-long central corridor at the east end of the pier is visited by art aficionados — and tourists seeking a restroom.
Movers from Aaron's Reliable Inc. move a window from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair from The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows. The windows are being moved to other sites, including the Macy's Pedway and Terminal 5 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.
Ready to be Moved - Jim Freeman, left, associate conservator, and Pamela Olson, conservation technician, both with Restoration Division LLC, prepare to wrap a (c.1900) American stained and painted glass window to be moved from The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows.
The Smith Stained Glass Museum closed in October of 2014.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


The Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass Windows at Navy Pier from 2001-2017.
Chicago Skyline – Tiffany Studio
The adjacent Richard H. Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass Windows opened in 2001 and closed in September of 2017. It was devoted to ecclesiastical and secular windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany and interrelated businesses between 1890 and 1930.
Ecclesiastical Angels - Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company, (c.1890).
The windows were from the extensive Tiffany collection of Chicago businessman Richard H. Driehaus. There were 11 Tiffany windows on display in the Driehaus Gallery, along with a Tiffany Studios fire screen.
Tiffany Studios fire screen has four sections, each 16" wide, with simple bronze frames and scrolled bronze feet supporting center curtains of Tiffany Chain Mail with glass tiles of white and bluish opalescent glass. The screen is topped with white lightly iridescent balls within a bronze ring. The bronze is finished in rich brown patina with strong green highlights. Signed "Tiffany Studios New York." SIZE: 64" w x 36" tall to top of glass ball decoration. Sold at auction for $95,000.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

1 comment:

  1. I never had the chance to see this museum, but I did accidentally stumble on the Driehaus museum on the near north side. So sad that both the Navy Pier and the Driehaus have closed. Is there a list somewhere of the new locations of the windows? Hope they are not all in private hands.

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