Madonna and Child, 1890
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park, Fla.
Today's work of art can be found in Florida, a state I've visited twice. The first time was for my nephew David's cousin's bat mitzvah in 1995; the second was a vacation trip with rustydog, boliver, and Mr. Boliver. I have a lot of fond memories of that latter trip, because their traveling sensibilities were so similar to mine, by which I mean that they also thought it was perfectly reasonable to make a seven hour round trip from Ft. Lauderdale to spend five hours in Key West. (Though, to be fair, we also stopped at Monkey Jungle on the way there.)
Which reminds me of a conversation I had with my brother the other day. He was telling me about how a salesperson recently had tried to sell him something by telling him that it would be a perfect gift for his mother, who died nine years ago.
JHeaton: Maybe you could have bought it, cremated it, and spread it over White Sand Lake.
AHeaton: Did I tell you I visited the lake this summer?
JHeaton: You did not tell me that!
AHeaton: I had a free day in Chicago -- I don't remember why I had to go there, but ... why are you laughing?
JHeaton: That's just such a Heaton thing to do. "I've got a free day in Chicago, I guess I'll drive seven hours to Boulder Junction."
AHeaton: Yeah, but this time I flew into Wausau. Which all told was no faster than driving, but I used frequent flier miles to pay for it.
Anyway. This rather spectacular stained-glass window was created by Louis Comfort Tiffany as part of the chapel he designed for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The chapel was enormously popular, and Tiffany was acclaimed as one of the great designers of the age. Following the Exposition, the chapel was disassembled and reinstalled in the Tiffany Studios in New York. A few years later, it was purchased by a Mrs. Celia Whipple Wallace, who had it installed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where it languished in an unsuitable basement crypt until Mrs. Whipple died and Tiffany was able to regain possession of what remained of the chapel. He installed it in his estate home on Long Island, where it remained until 1957, when a fire damaged the home (though not the chapel). At the urging of one of Tiffany's daughters, Hugh McKean, director of the Morse Museum, and his wife Jeannette purchased all the leaded glass windows and architectural elements and transported them to Winter Park. The following year he purchased the rest of the chapel's interior elements, and set to acquiring the various elements that had been sold by the Tiffany Foundation over the years. The chapel has now been fully restored by and reassembled at the Morse Museum.
Previous Advent posts:
2003: John Hegley, "Christmas in the Doghouse"
2004: Andres Serrano, Madonna and Child II
2005: Merry Christmas and thanks for the hot rod race
2006: Steve Martin, "A Holiday Wish"
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