Glorious Stained Glass Trove Unearthed in New York’s Woodlawn Cemetery, Revealing Centuries-Old Artistic Treasures

Woodlawn Cemetery officials stumbled upon an extraordinary collection of stained glass, commissioned over a century ago by New York’s elite.

Discovered within the mausoleums, these breathtaking artworks date back to the Gilded Age and are currently undergoing an unprecedented survey.

Unveiling Centuries-Old Secrets: Unearthing 1,200 Stained Glass Windows

In a remarkable survey, experts are meticulously examining around 1,200 stained glass windows within the cemetery’s 1,300 private mausoleums.

Sealed since 1878, these windows present a unique challenge, requiring the adaptation of antique keys crafted by 19th-century mausoleum makers to gain access.

Antique Keys and Microclimates: Unlocking the Secrets of Sealed Mausoleums

To enter these sealed mausoleums, a local company has ingeniously adapted antique keys, providing access to the microclimates that developed within since 1878.

The conditions within these long-sealed chambers create a ‘microclimate,’ offering an environment akin to a time capsule.

Stunning Discoveries: Tiffany’s Legacy and Unseen Windows

The ongoing survey has already yielded surprising results, including the identification of unsigned works by renowned artist Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Experts are documenting and researching each stained glass window, uncovering hidden masterpieces behind stone sarcophagi and within Gilded Age temples.

Artistic Provenance Unveiled: Tiffany and La Farge’s Opalescent Legacy

Halfway through the survey, experts have identified several unsigned works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, known for his revolutionary use of opalescent glass.

This material, also popularized by Tiffany’s contemporary John La Farge, creates an internal glow and milky translucency that enhances color and captivates viewers.

Stained Glass Aficionados on a Quest: Indiana Jones of Art Conservation

A team of stained glass experts, including conservators Brianne Van Vorst, Edward Sperry, and Drew Anderson, along with curator Lindsy R.

Parrott, is conducting the survey. Described as an ‘Indiana Jones’ adventure, the team explores damp and moldy chambers, discovering incredible stained glass windows previously unseen.

Three-Dimensional Marvels: Unprecedented Designs and Artistic Wonders

The discoveries include three-dimensional design elements, such as a jeweled blue-glass orb protruding from a 1890s-era window.

Even stained glass conservator Drew Anderson expressed awe, stating, “I’ve never seen anything like this before, anywhere.”

Conservation Efforts: Preserving Tiffany’s Sunset and Nature’s Beauty

While some windows depict heavenly scenes and nature, the conservationists are working on preserving the faded colors and details.

Techniques involve inserting a panel of glass behind the original to offer a truer picture of the stained glass’s original beauty.

A Journey Through Time: Exploring Woodlawn’s Hidden Stained Glass Legacy

The ongoing survey at Woodlawn Cemetery not only reveals the artistic treasures of the past but also provides a glimpse into the intricate and beautiful world of stained glass artistry.

As the team continues its quest, the hidden legacy of these exquisite windows becomes a testament to the artistic richness of bygone eras.

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