American Decorative Arts
Maker: John La Farge, American, 1835–1910, M.A. (HON.) 1896

Cherry Blossoms Against Spring Freshet

1882–83

Pressed, stained, and opalescent glass with lead cames

30 1/2 x 60 in. (77.47 x 152.4 cm)
Purchased with gifts from: Friends of American Arts at Yale; Mr. and Mrs. James E. Duffy, B.S. 1951; the family, colleagues, and friends of Katherine Atwater Folds in her memory; and friends of E.B. Smith, Jr., Class of 1966. Purchased with funds established by: Iola S. Haverstick; Peter B. Cooper, B.A. 1960, LL.B. 1964, M.U.S. 1965, and Field C. McIntyre; Mr. and Mrs. Frank J. Coyle, LL.B. 1943; and Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., B.A. 1913. Purchased by exchange from art donated by: Doris M. Brixley and Nathalie Penrose Swetland; J. Davenport Wheeler, B.A. 1858; Edith Malvina K. Wetmore; Mrs. Harvey K. Smith; Loomis Havermeyer, PH.B. 1910; Mrs. Robert R. French; Olive Louise Dann; Mr. and Mrs. Sidney W. Peloubet; Mrs Paul Moore; Charles Stetson, B.A. 1900; Mrs. Thomas Walter Swann; Misses Emilie L. and Olga V. Loebig; Mrs. Norman Williams; Daniel Merriman; John Barclay, B.A. 1936, in memory of Benjamin R. Sturgis, B.A. 1931, LL.B. 1934; Kathryn E. Pennicuik in memory of James E.G. Fravell, Class of 1919; and the Katharine Ordway and Mabel Brady Garvan Collections
2003.61.1
Stained-glass windows became popular elements in domestic architecture during the 1870s and 1880s. John La Farge and his rival Louis Comfort Tiffany were the leading artists in this medium, with La Farge demonstrating extraordinary inventiveness in his manipulation of glass. He introduced opalescent glass to windows and also experimented with other techniques: plating multiple layers of glass to achieve tonal variation and shading; embedding bits of broken glass within opalescent glass to create what he called “broken jewels”; rolling glass to give it a rippled surface; and faceting cabochons to insert brilliant accents. Made for the Michael Jenkins House in Baltimore, this window is a striking example of Japonisme in later nineteenth-century American art. The composition is derived from late sixteenth-century Japanese screens depicting springtime scenes of cherry trees in flower against streams of water resulting from melting snow. La Farge’s fascination with Japanese art is also reflected in the flattened perspective he used in this window, suspending the branches of the tree and the rocks, water, and mist in an ambiguous spatial relationship.
Culture: 
American
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Stained Glass
Geography: 
Made in New York, New York
Status: 
On view
Provenance: 

La Farge was commissioned in 1881 to provide stained-glass windows for the Michael Jenkins House in Baltimore, Maryland, where this window remained until the house was demolished in 1951. A preparatory drawing for this window, was given to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1911. It was owned in 1953 by the Connecticut dealer Robert Koch and was purchased in the late 1960s by Kay Leroy as part of the decorative scheme for Maxwell's Plum restaurtant in New York City. Subsequently it was used as part of the interior decor of Tavern on the Green. It is still owned by the partners of Maxwell's Plum Restaurant.

Bibliography: 

John Stuart Gordon, “Time in a Bottle,” Antiques 185, no. 5 (September/October 2018): 94–95, ill.

“Acquisitions 2003,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2004): 124–27, ill.

Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 46–47, pl. 20.

Elisabeth Hodermarsky et al., John La Farge’s Second Paradise: Voyages in the South Seas, 1890–1891, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2010), 148-49, fig. 108.

John Stuart Gordon, American Glass: The Collections at Yale (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2018), 182–83, no. 96, fig. 96A (detail).

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.