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Researching Possiblility of Windows from the John J. Kinsella Co.
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 Posted: Fri Mar 6th, 2015 10:39 pm
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Philip Bak
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I have been trying to determine the studio that produced the stained glass windows in our church, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic Church, in Lorain, Ohio, for several years without much success.  Our church was built in 1915 by the contractor Anthony F. Wasielewski of Minneapolis.  The building has beautiful, opalescent glass windows of high quality.  The opalescent glass is unpainted, while the faces, hands, and feet in the windows are painted beautifully.

 

In my research, I have come across photos of windows, produced by the studio of John Kinsella, a prominent Chicago firm at the time of the construction of our church.  The style and quality of his windows and the ones in our church seem very similar to me.  I know of two other Wasielewski churches that have similar windows to ours, St. Josaphat Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and Holy Family Church (now cathedral) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Neither church knows the studio that produced their windows.  I am wondering if there would be any records of churches to which the Kinsella studio provided windows and if the records would confirm that any of the three mention churches had windows, produced by the Kinsella studio.  Another possibility would be to find known Kinsella windows that would be identical to the ones in our church.  I have attached a scan of four windows from our church in JPEG format.  Perhaps an expert can comment on the likelihood of these windows being produced by the John J. Kinsella Company or some other studio.

 

Are there any catalogs from the Kinsella studio from around 1915, which would show examples of the studio’s work?  I have contacted the Chicgo and Lockport historical societies, our diocesan archives and have thoroughly searched the Internet for any help without making progress.  I would be very grateful for any information.

 

Sincerely,

Philip Bak

Attached Image (viewed 776 times):

NativityWindows.jpg

Last edited on Thu Nov 19th, 2015 07:46 am by Philip Bak



 Posted: Sat Mar 7th, 2015 07:13 pm
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Vic
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From: Barbara Krueger <BEK4450@aol.com>
List Editor: Betty MacDowell <macdowe3@MSU.EDU>
Editor's Subject: Kinsella Studio Chicago
Author's Subject: Kinsella Studio Chicago
Date Written: Tue, 17 Apr 2007 12:45:19 EDT
Date Posted: Wed, 17 Apr 2007 19:34:35 -0400
This article was "discovered" by Maria Serpentino from Serpentino Stained
Glass in Needham, MA. There are several older churches in Michigan with
stained glass by the Kinsella firm. John Kinsella was from the
Lockport, Illinois area (southwest of Chicago) as the article
mentions.

http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/entertainment/340714,4_5_JO15_STAINED_S1.article

Exhibit honors Lockport artist

"Historian David V. Wendell of Bolingbrook will deliver the keynote
address in opening ceremonies for the dedication of a new exhibit
honoring internationally renowned Lockport stained glass artist John
J. Kinsella.

The exhibition, titled "Cathedrals of Color: The Stained Glass of John J.
Kinsella Studios," will open to the public during a special sneak preview at 7
p.m Thursday April 19, 2007, in Community Hall of the DesPlaines
Valley Public Library, 121 East 8th St., Lockport.

The stained glass of local artist John J. Kinsella, such as the one
above, will be on exhibit beginning Thursday at the Des Plaines
library.

Kinsella was raised on a farm between Lockport and Joliet, and at the age of
21, established his own studios in Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood. He
helped to pioneer the "Favrile" style of glass invented by John LaFarge and
L.C. Tiffany and his works, considered equal to the great masters' landmarks,
decorate many Chicago and southwest suburbs' cathedrals.

More than 200 images depicting stories of the Old and New Testaments
are seen in the photographic essay that chronicles Kinsella Studios'
most outstanding and award winning glass canvasses. Among these are
The Memorial Window at St. Dennis Catholic Church in Lockport, God's
Promise at St. John Berchmanns in Logan Square, and the world famous
Lancet Windows of St. James Chapel in Chicago.

The St. James windows alone required six years to be installed and
are composed of fifteen individual lancets that stand nine feet wide
by forty feet tall. The early 20th century hand painted masterpieces
replicate those at St. Chappelle, the Reliquary in Paris which holds
the crown of thorns worn by Jesus at the cross.

Wendell has spent more than a year researching Kinsella and his
studio's legacy. After discovering the firm's prolific artwork was
largely forgotten, he began photographing both the imposing, and the
more intimate, details that characterized the company's inimitable
craftsmanship.

"Cathedrals of Color" will remain on display through Memorial Day weekend.
The lecture and admission to the exhibit is free."


Barbara Krueger
Michigan Stained Glass Census

--



 Posted: Sun Mar 8th, 2015 12:57 am
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Krueger
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Phillip, I am going to suggest a couple of things...first that you/someone looks very closely at the bottom right area of all the windows in question to see if there are intials, or a "mark" of somekind. This can be overlooked accidentally sometimes. The second suggestion is to find old newspaper articles (historical society) from when the church was built, and see if there is any mention of the stained glass windows, or the donors, etc.....you never can tell!!

Barbara Krueger, Michigan Stained Glass Census



 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2015 07:57 pm
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Philip Bak
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Dear Vic,

Thank you for your reply.  I actually tracked down David Wendell.  He now is in Iowa.  I have contacted him several times but have not yet received a reply.  If you know of any other Kinsella experts, please let me know.  Thanks.

Sincerely,
Philip Bak



 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2015 08:14 pm
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Philip Bak
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Dear Barbara,

Thank you for your reply.  The windows were removed for restoration about a decade ago and at that time, I asked that they be examined for any identifying marks.  I was told there were none.  Do you know of any distinctive marks that the Kinsella studio used?  Are there any experts on the studio available?

I did visit our local historical society but they had no details on the construction of the church.  I wrote the history of the parish for our one hundredth anniversary in 1998 and scanned microfilm of any local newspaper from 1915 and found much info on the construction of the church but nothing on the windows.  I appreciate all your ideas.

Sincerely,
Philip Bak



 Posted: Mon Mar 9th, 2015 08:53 pm
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Krueger
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Hello Philip, I did a google for Kinsella stained glass and see that a few years ago Gail Bardhan at Corning provided you a list of Chicago churches with Kinsella glass. My next thought would be for you to see if the churches have web site with contact people, and ask each if there is a distinguishing mark or name for the studio....Gail's list was quite lengthy, so I would think at least one of the churches might have something....another thought.....Neil Vogel teaches at the school for the Chicago Art Institute.. restoricllc@earthlink.net
..perhaps a student has already researched, but if not, perhaps a student could go to each of the churches and look for a name, etc.



 Posted: Sat Nov 14th, 2015 12:55 am
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Jim P
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Hi Philip,

I'm working with the church that I grew up in for their centennial in 2017. It is full of Kinsella windows. I have photos of the windows as well as the pane identifying them as coming from "J. Kinsella Co. Chicago". I believe they were produced a couple of years after John Kinsella's death. I can send you the photo with the maker's mark.



 Posted: Sat Nov 14th, 2015 01:02 am
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Jim P
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Also, you can check them out on a facebook group that I just created. Here's the link. Just request joining the group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1643207285929227/



 Posted: Sun Nov 15th, 2015 12:19 am
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Krueger
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Hello Phillip, It may be difficutl to determine the actual maker as there were many studios using the same patterns/designs for their churches. If you can locate a newspaper article about the church which names the stained glass studio, perhaps at the dedication.???

It is possible the "hand" of the artist is different in different churches, but....frequently the design was duplicated as fully as possible.....so, check for newspaper articles as I think that would be helpful.

Barbara Krueger, Michigan Stained Glass Census



 Posted: Thu Nov 19th, 2015 04:15 am
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Philip Bak
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Hi, Jim,

Thank you for your reply. You are correct. John Kinsella died in 1915. Even though I was told that the windows were checked for a maker's mark and I can't find a sign of one myself, I would be interested in the location of the mark on your windows and the appearance of the mark, so that I can double-check. With my current computer situation, I do not have access to Facebook. Please post any photos on this site or send them to philip.bak@polyone.com. I would be very interested in anything that you can share. By any chance, would your church have any records to other churches that the Kinsella Studios provided windows, perhaps as a sales promotion or reference of completed projects?

Sincerely,
Philip



 Posted: Thu Nov 19th, 2015 04:15 am
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Philip Bak
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Last edited on Thu Nov 19th, 2015 04:22 am by Philip Bak



 Posted: Thu Nov 19th, 2015 07:06 am
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Philip Bak
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Hello, Barbara,

I've been involved in this search off and on for almost two decades now but have been unable to find a newspaper reference to the windows. There are newspaper references to the building construction and dedication and detailed information in the parish archives and diocesan archives but nothing pertaining to the windows. I have rechecked all this again in the last year.

What I did do to learn more was to stop in Chicago this past summer and visit known Kinsella installations. Two windows in St. James Lutheran Church were identical to two windows in our church in Lorain, Ohio, in design and actual cut of each piece of glass making up the windows. The quality of the painting of the flesh and hair was strikingly similar. Only the colors of the opalescent glass varied. I have attached an image. (Nativity, Lorain, windows are the outer images; St. James, Chicago, windows are the center images.) Thank you for your interest.

Sincerely,
Philip

Attached Image (viewed 756 times):

WindowComparison.jpg

Last edited on Thu Nov 19th, 2015 07:22 am by Philip Bak



 Posted: Thu Nov 19th, 2015 03:25 pm
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Krueger
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These photos are from the now defunct Smith Museum/Gallery in Chicago....note the images of their Kinsella windows do not look anything like the ones Mr. Bak has presented.

http://www.publicartinchicago.com/smith-museum-of-stained-glass-windows-photo-gallery-ii/

So, I would recommend contacting Rolf Achilles in Chicago who was involved in the organization of the museum some years ago. He might be able to shed some light on the differences in the images, and/or assist with the identification of your windows. rachil@artic.edu

However....... Rolf's Face book page indicates he is in Europe right now....looking at very interesting stained glass.



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