Remembering the Connick Studio (1912-1986)
by Catherine Zusy
In preparation for our Connick exhibition --slated to
open at the Boston University Art Gallery in 2003 and then to tour to three
other venues-- The Connick Foundation organized a party on June 9, 2001
to gather reminiscences of the Studio.
As part of this process, we contacted thirteen former
Studio workers and many members of workers' families. Thirty-four people,
including former workers, family members of workers, historians and writers,
attended the event, which was recorded on audio and video tape. We also
received telephone calls and letters from eight others.
Below is a sample of recollections from a few of these
folks. Each provides a glimpse of the vital Connick Studio community of
dedicated craftsmen. See the photograph below.
Carl Paulson, who made Sandwich glass medallions
for the Studio, 1932-1935 and 1938-1942, recalls
Anthony Accettullo, son of Joseph Accettullo, painter
at the Studio, 1922-1978, relates
|"Connick was pretty fussy. They [the medallions] had
to be just right. So every day I listened to criticism of what I had
made the day before and after about a year Mrs. Connick
asked me, 'Carl, are you getting discouraged?' And I suppose I
just said 'no,' because it was good learning. Then, all
of a sudden, one week my stained glass medallions received no
more criticism. Because they needed more help at 70 Hull
Street [Newtonville, MA, where Paulson worked in the
basement of Connick's house], so they sent Edgar Martin
from the painting department [of the Studio] in Boston to help
me and he got all the criticisms… Later you miss criticism;
it's too easy to go downhill without knowing."
|"My father spoke of the Studio as if they were members
of his own family.
"The most impressive thing, I think, was Connick. As
a child, I think I may have been nine or ten years old when I went
up there. It was so dirty, so dark, so dusty, but the
love and the warmth of those men and going into that dark room and
seeing one of those rose windows up in the light, it
was just like another world."
Anthony also remembered that the Studio had many parties
(none of which, alas, he had attended) and how his father - a
great gardener and cook - would bring fresh vegetables
to the Studio and cook up big pots of sauce for co-workers.
Anthony also brought a copy of the essay he had written
in 1938 about Connick's seminal work, Adventures in Light and
Color (Random House, NY, 1937). All the children of Studio
workers were invited to submit essays for a competition.
Anthony won third honorable mention; Orin Skinner's son
Charles won first prize.
From left to right: Tracy Rudd, Leo Cartwright, Troto
Mainini, Walter Palchanis and Knute Svendsen working at the Studio.
|Anne Piandarian, daughter of Harald Nickelsen,
cartoonist, 1924-1986, remembers
||"… going up to the rickety old
steps at the Studio. It was like
going into another time and
another world. ... I remember the
big hall … a grandfather clock in
the big hall in the middle, and
seeing my father's sketches and
my Uncle Ralf's [Nickelsen]
sketches. My mother and father
had met each other there ... and my
mother's father had worked there
If readers of this newsletter have
memories to share, please send
them to Cathie Zusy, Connick
Exhibition Curator, at 202
Hamilton Street, Cambridge, MA
02139, or to CathZusy@aol.com.
These memories will be added to
the archives of The Connick
Photograph by Don Bristol from The Connick Foundation
|Peter Cormack writes:
In the last issue of Connick Windows (June 2001), I suggested
that an important essay on ‘Stained and Painted Glass’
in Volume I of the 1915 book American Churches was written
by Charles J. Connick, using the pseudonym ‘George
Herbertson Charles’. As a result of researches in the
Foundation’s archives, Connick’s authorship can now be
confirmed unequivocally, since a somewhat abridged version
of the same essay was subsequently published under his
own name in The Ornamental Glass Bulletin (March 1922,
Volume 16, No. 2, pp. 9-12). The 1915 text is therefore the
earliest substantial article on stained glass by Connick
which has so far been traced.
Continued on the OVERLEAF.
||The Orin E. Skinner Annual Lecture
will be held Wednesday November 14, 2001 at 6:30 pm in the Rabb Lecture
Hall, Boston Public Library, Copley Square. Stained glass
consultant Julie L. Sloan will lecture on the History of
Stained Glass in America. This lecture is free and open
to the public.
||Please address questions, comments
and/or gifts to Marilyn B. Justice, President, at The Connick Foundation.
History of Stained Glass in America
The history of stained glass in the United States is older
than the nation, beginning in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam in the
17th century. The craft was not widely practiced until
the Gothic Revival of the 1840s. But it was not until the Gilded Age of
19th century that the medium became extraordinarily popular,
due to the development of opalescent glass and its successful
marketing by Tiffany Studios, combined with its widespread
use in residential architecture. Following World War 1, a second Gothic
Revival, spearheaded by architect Ralph Adams Cram, created
a new generation of craftspeople and a new style. The Great
Depression saw the end of this era, where the lecture
Julie L. Sloan is a stained glass consultant. She has
worked in stained glass for 19 years and is the author of Conservation
of Stained Glass in
America and many articles on stained glass history and
conservation. She is also adjunct professor of historic preservation at
has taught at Williams College and Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute, and has given seminars around the country. Her MS in historic
from Columbia University. Following Ms. Sloan's 18 years
of research on the leaded glass of Frank Lloyd Wright she curated an exhibition
wrote two major books on the subject, Light Screens:
The Complete Leaded Glass Windows of Frank Lloyd Wright and Light Screens:
Glass of Frank Lloyd Wright (exhibition catalog), both
published by Rizzoli International (2000). Julie Sloan is currently working
on books on the
stained glass of artist John La Farge and of the Prairie
School, in addition to consulting on restoration of significant stained
glass windows around
the country, including Princeton University and Trinity
"I want to make beautiful interiors for both churches
I want...[all people] to hear my windows singing..."
Charles J. Connick
|Saint Cecilia (1920). Center
panel of gallery
window at St. Catherine of Sienna Church