We have recently completed a large window commission that takes its inspiration from a painting by the French-Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The original 1878 painting of Madame Charpentier and her Children is currently in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Our stained glass window now resides blocks away from the museum in a private residence. At our client’s request, we have made changes to the facial features and some of the details of the sitters. The window has been framed in a light box.
Impressionist images always pose a unique challenge to translate into stained glass windows. When artists create this type of painting, the paint is liberally applied to the canvas to convey color and light, not detail. Because of this, Bill must look at the painting and make up the hard lines which will outline the details. The challenge is to convey the same feeling as the painting in a image that is defined by solid black lines throughout.
As with many of the other stained glass windows of this type which we have created in the past, we use the technique called plating to give the piece richness and depth. In this technique, more than one layer of glass is put onto the window creating colors and textures that do not exist in a single layer of glass.
George and Marguerite Charpentier were enthusiastic patrons of Mssr. Renoir and included his work in exhibitions they organized. Renoir painted the family several times, and this image pictures Marguerite and her children in the Japanese drawing room of their mansion.