Thoughts, news and comments concerning the art and craft of Connick Stained glass, published periodically by...
|The Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation, Ltd., Orin E. Skinner, Founder||June, 2000|
|Directors and Officers: Theresa D.Cederholm
Judith G. Edington Jonathan L.Fairbanks
Elizabeth B. Johnson Robert G.Windsor
Marilyn B. Justice, President
This is the second of a two-part article written by
Joan Gaul. The first part appeared in the February, 2000 Newsletter.
Fate and friends came to his rescue. His family doctor, who, considering all that sickness and death, was probably a good friend, suggested he send sketches to his sister who lived in Boston. Connick did and was offered a job at $25 a week. Connick's joy at Boston and the lordly salary was short lived as he found pretty much the same artistic trends in Boston that he'd left in Pittsburgh. But, Connick's early Boston sojourn is another story; he returned to Pittsburgh. Considering the close family ties, George Connick's death on May 9, 1902 probably precipitated that action.
In 1903, Charles J. Connick's name was back in the Pittsburgh city directory as the manager of Conroy, Prugh & Company's showroom on Penn Avenue. His work for them is listed and pictured in the Pittsburgh Architectural Club's 1903 exhibition catalog. Connick's Pittsburgh track record and his fresh out-of-town credentials would have been welcomed by a firm such as Conroy, Prugh, specialists in silvering and beveling from 1886, but just entering the lucrative field of art and/or stained glass. The following year Conroy, Prugh incorporated as Pittsburgh Stamed Glass Company. Charles J. Connick is listed as "of Pittsburgh Stained Glass."
Connick wrote a lot about his childhood and his time in Pittsburgh before 1897, but very little about the five years he spent back in this city between his Boston days. When Connick returned to Pittsburgh, Horace Rudy, who had married in 1900, was preparing to move part of the firm's operation to York, Pennsylvania. Two talented artists, George Sotter and Lawrence Saint had worked with Rudy after Connick left in 1897 and were probably still there in 1903. Under Horace Rudy's urging Sotter had spent a year at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and Saint would spend three. There is little question that the advanced ideas on stained transparent or thin opalescent glass that Connick wrote of finding on his return to Pittsburgh were due to developments at Rudy's with Sotter and Saint and to William Willet. In 1898 Willet had come from Philadelphia to manage an existing art glass firm, which the following year became Willet Stained Glass. The examples of Willet's work from that period are painterly but not unusual. After a 1902 visit to Europe, Willet came back to Pittsburgh and created his seminal medallion window for First Presbyterian Church, and his chancel windows at Calvary Church for Ralph Adams Cram. Pittsburgh's East End was too small a place for these artists not to have seen each other's work and exchanged ideas.
Connick left Pittsburgh Stained Glass Company to return to Rudy Brothers shortly after Horace's departure. By the 1905 City Directory, Connick was no longer listed with Pittsburgh Stained Glass. By 1907 his work as art director at Rudy Brothers was lauded in a publication of the Pittsburgh Board of Trade. The article spoke of his staff and the three kinds of windows the company was producing. Small windows at St. Mary's church were given as examples of a new kind of stained transparent glass.
|Even as that was published, the Rudy Brothers and Pittsburgh
were about to lose Connick for good. Back m Boston, E. 0. Swift,
whom Connick had met while on Cape Cod with his mother after his father's
death, was the executor of a will that called for a memorial window in
a new church in Brookline. Swift spent some years conducting a lobbying
campaign for "his young friend, Connick, from Pittsburgh," and making the
connections and contacts that would lead to Connick's meeting with Ralph
By 1908 the necessary introduction had been made to Ralph Adams Cram, the sketches of four small windows from Bishop Whiteheads own Pittsburgh Church, St. Mary's, had been sent and appreciated and Cram had hired Connick to do the window at All Saints in Brookline.
Connick went back to Boston, off to Europe, and within
a few years to the studio on Harcourt Street from which flowed windows,
and with them fame, fortune, and an elegant life among artists, writers,
and poets that was light years away from Springboro and Pittsburgh.
Collection in the Fine Arts Department of the Boston Public Library, and Connick news around the country.
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