Friday, May 20, 2011

John LaFarge

John LaFarge was an American born in New York City, New York. He went into college studying law, but after a trip to Paris, became interested in art. LaFarge was greatly influenced by Japanese art. In the early 1860's he became a pioneer in collecting Japanese art, and incorporating Japanese effects into his work. This interest was likely encouraged by his marriage to the niece of the commodore who opened Japan to the West . LaFarge used Japanese effects to create strange, empty and unbalanced effects. These are shown in Hollyhocks by the layered glass and cluttered flowers. Other details include opalescent white glass, which could possibly represent purity. An irregular pebble border gives the feeling of being enclosed. The glass is mostly dark green giving a feeling of darkness and unknowing, with spouts of blue to give a sense of hope. The flowers are red, blue, and purple, and get smaller and more detailed toward the bottom. When taking a step back from the glass, it looks like the flowers may be dying. Archetypes include a forest or maybe a swamp. A forest represents fertility, protectivity and shelter. This piece was made for the Frederick Lothrop Ames house, who came into money because his grandfather founded a shovel company.
If you had as much money as Lothrop, what would you spend it on?
Is stained glass in your house an unnecessary waste of money?
Do you think Ames appreciated the beauty of the work as much as LaFarge?


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  2. If I had an inheritence of money, I would not waste my money on stained glass art. I feel like this piece in particular would fit in nicely in a catholic church. In all honesty, I do think stained glass is an extremely easy form of art, with very little depth or detail. I don't know Ames' motives or views on art, but I would make a guess that he only wanted the piece as a sign of maturing wealth, but then again, the piece may have appealed to Ames in some way to make him want to purchase it. Who is to say?

  3. I think Ames did appreciate the beauty of the work as much as LaFarge because he put the piece in his home and it's something he's going to have to see everyday. He may not see what the piece represents as LaFarge did, but it may be important to him.