John LaFarge 1835 - 1910
John LaFarge was an accomplished artist in drawing and painting who lectured extensively on fine art and wrote about his memories of his past travels to places such as Japan and the South Seas. His artworks illustrate his fantasies of flowers and especially foreign places. LaFarge’s major accomplishment -- as the greatest innovator in the history of modern stained glass -- occurred in 1879 when he discovered and patented the techniques for making opalescent glass, which is the fusion of small bits of glass in order to create stained glass images which previously had to be painted with metal oxides. Made from kiln fired stained glass

Born in New York City into a wealthy family. La Farge grew up in a cultured household. Uncertain about a career in law that he began to pursue, he went to Paris in 1856 and briefly studied painting with Thomas Couture. Returning to New York, he took a space in the new Tenth Street Studio Building. In 1859 he went to work with painter William Morris Hunt in Newport, Rhode Island. He began exhibiting at the National Academy of Design in 1862. La Farge's early experiments in still life and plein-air landscape were nourished by contemporary color theory and his appreciation of Japanese prints. In addition to painting, La Farge made illustrations for books and magazines between 1864 and 1878. In 1876 he began receiving commissions to decorate the interiors of churches, mansions, and private and public buildings that were being constructed or refurbished in response to post-Civil War prosperity and urban growth. He was the first American to devote himself extensively to mural painting; his stained-glass windows, which incorporate opalescent glass and other unconventional materials, were unprecedented. La Farge, a man of great intellectual gifts, was curious about history and art; he was a brilliant conversationalist and a critic who wrote for other artists and for the public.
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