The stained glass artist for Tiffany Studios, Agnes Northrop, was at the height of her power in 1917 when she designed the dazzling Hartwell Memorial Window by Tiffany, dramatically backlit to mimic sunlight flooding through, creating a kaleidoscope of color. As head of a group called “The Tiffany Girls,” she created some of Tiffany’s most memorable windows and was the first at the preeminent studio to execute landscapes and gardens in stained glass. She was a true virtuoso in what was referred to at the time as painting in glass. https://classicchicagomagazine.com/tag/hartwell-memorial-window/
Agnes Northrop was one of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s most trusted designers and a member of the famous Tiffany Girls. The great Master did not work alone. “Tiffany” designed artworks that were high in demand, and he employed hundreds of artists and artisans. Amongst them are the Tiffany Girls, entrusted with some of the most complex design work in Tiffany’s studios, including window and lamp design, glass selection, and glass cutting. Interestingly, Tiffany thought a woman’s sense of color and the nimbleness of her fingers to be superior to a man’s and entrusted his female designers with this essential part of making his windows. https://driehausmuseum.org/blog/view/from-the-collection-landscape-by-agnes-northrop
Agnes Northrop was born in Flushing, Queens, in 1857 and died in 1953 in the Gramercy Park Hotel in Manhattan at age 96. She was most likely introduced to Tiffany in the late 1880s and by the 1890s had, according to Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen (Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art), forged an independent role for herself within the studio. https://americanart.si.edu/blog/eye-level/2016/27/305/glass-gardens-agnes-northrop-designs-louis-c-tiffany
Among the first six designers hired by the company, as early as the 1880s, Northrop’s talent was recognized by Tiffany, who entrusted her to design the company’s famous stained glass windows. She was also one of the few women actually given credit for work in exhibitions and catalogs. She was known for her talent in composing floral scenes and was given the prestige of a private studio in Tiffany Studios’ Fourth Avenue building. https://driehausmuseum.org/blog/view/from-the-collection-landscape-by-agnes-northrop
The Hartwell Memorial Window is one of the most extraordinary leaded glass windows ever made by Tiffany Studios, the leading glass firm of America’s Gilded Age. It was commissioned, over a century ago, by Mary Hartwell, to honor Frederick Hartwell, her late husband. It was originally gifted to the Community Church of Providence, Rhode Island, and remained in the church sanctuary until 2018 when a unanimous decision by the congregation saw it handed over to the Art Institute of Chicago. It was wisely thought that in the Art Institute the precious Tiffany Memorial Window would be well conserved, and appreciated by a wider public. The Art Institute of Chicago welcomed this extraordinary gift and installed the Hartwell Memorial Window in the Henry Crown Gallery at the top of the Women’s Board Grand Staircase in the Art Institute’s historic Michigan Avenue building.
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