Installed in 1917, the Hartwell Memorial Window has been held from public view for over a century. The Tiffany stained-glass window, previously stationed at a Rhode Island church, had been purchased by the Art Institute of Chicago in 2018. Since then, the window has undergone extensive restoration and is now finally available for public viewing.
Towering at 23 feet high and 16 feet wide, the piece is a portrayal of a New Hampshire landscape. The array of colors, soft edges, and intricate design altogether create an impression of serenity. This work of art was commissioned by Mary L. Hartwell as a tribute to her late husband. She recruited Tiffany Studios, a leading glassmaking studio, to execute this project. In the early 20th century, Tiffany Studios gained a reputation for the use of advanced techniques that created a painted effect. A group of female artists known as the “Tiffany Girls” served as an essential backbone to the studio. Of these women, it is likely that Agnes Northrop designed the Hartwell Memorial Window. As these talented women’s efforts have been widely unappreciated until recently, it is uplifting that the stained-glass window will be displayed at the top of the Art Institute of Chicago’s grand double staircases at the South Michigan Avenue entrance.
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