This Week: Our Stained Glass Windows, Part II
In preparation for the 100th anniversary of St. James in 1992, pastor Msgr. William Reinecke was in correspondence with stained glass consultant George M. Sensenig. Mr. Sensenig’s father, C. M. Sensenig, and grandfather, George Savage, were principals in the studio that created the St. James windows. P. J. Reeves Stained Glass Studio was located in Philadelphia and collaborated with architects Gleeson and Mulrooney who designed the church building.
Mr. Sensenig writes with great admiration for Anton Albers, Sr., the artist directly involved with the St. James windows. Mr. Albers, he says, offered full size cartoons of the saints for approval, then, Mr. Sensenig writes:
“He also painted the figurative portions of the window, each of which were applied to an easel in full with wax. The remainder of the painting—the grissaile work—trace lines—background were painted by Mr. Alexander Macchione, a truly outstanding craftsman who was with the studio for some 20 years. Alex would then apply a patina of this ‘brown-earthy’ paint over the total representation. Mr. Albers then orchestrated the shadowing—densities of color to a beautiful symphony of color by removing the paint where he so desired through a stroke of his brush. Mr. Albers was uncompromising almost to a fault. But yet, the window—whether at St. James…wherever—was his signature—his symphony. And, he was the conductor.
“Stubborn…aloof…uncompromising…self-centered are words I might associate with Mr. Albers although I would hope I would remember him as one of the finest stained glass artists of his period—one who truly understood and had a very special feeling for the medium of stained glass—an architectural art.”
P. J. Reeves Stained Glass Studio remained “particularly proud” of the windows at St. James.