A Renaissance Man in the Gilded Age
An elegant survey of the life and work of a major American artist
The task of decorating the interiors of the many new public and private structures created in Gilded Age America called for artists proficient in the skills of mural and stained glass design. Frederic Crowninshield (1845–1918) was one of those who rose to meet this challenge, and his career sheds light on what came to be known as the American Renaissance. Like his contemporaries Louis Comfort Tiffany and John La Farge, he devoted much of his energy to designing murals and stained glass windows. But he was also a successful painter, teacher, and author. His book Mural Painting (1886) was the definitive study on the subject for many years, and his murals and stained glass windows decorated churches and public buildings in New York, New England, and the Midwest.
This book offers the first full account of Crowninshield's life and work. Gertrude de G. Wilmers and Julie L. Sloan situate his career in the context of patronage, class, and art and provide an expert analysis of his work in stained glass, mural painting, oil, and watercolor. The book is richly illustrated with artworks by Crowninshield and his contemporaries, student drawings, family photographs, and related works of architecture.
"This beautifully produced biography of the late-19th- and early-20th-century American artist, author, and arts administrator Frederic Crowninshield was meticulously researched and written by Wilmers, retired research associate at the International Foundation for Art Research and Crowninshield's great-granddaughter, and stained class author and consultant Sloan. . . . This volume offers an extensive description and analysis of Crowninshield's stained glass windows, murals, and paintings and places them in social, artistic, and historical context. Complementing the scholarly text are precise captions, a glossary, and extensive bibliography, and appendixes that include several illustrations of Crowninshield's original designs and an annotated list of his installed stained glass windows and murals. Recommended."—Choice
"This extensively researched, well written, and beautifully illustrated monograph utilizes a host of Crowninshield's easel paintings in works and stained glass to illuminate a significant career that has generally been ignored. . . . Wilmers and Sloan have created a book that will interest anyone who loves Crowninshield's period, and also one that restores him to his rightful position as an important artist-decorator."—Fine Arts Connoisseur
"...an outstanding, extensively-referenced and scholarly book, certainly the definitive work to-date on this talented artist. . . . Engagingly written, it is easy to follow Crowninshield's life as he moved within the artistic circles of late nineteenth-century America and Italy and to understand the sociological factors that influenced his work. Illustrations of his paintings, watercolors and stained glass windows make for an enjoyable read."—Nineteenth Century
"Illustrated with impeccable photographs furnished by Ms. Sloan and various institutions holding Crowninshileld's easel and mural paintings, the book brings to light a greatly overlooked and underestimated figure and adds to the growing narrative history of stained glass as a unique expression of the American Renaissance."—The Journal of Stained Glass