This recently acquired watercolor is a Tiffany design drawing for a memorial window commissioned for Belle H. Kaufmann for placement in a Catholic Church in Far Hills, New Jersey. This preliminary art work was created by Tiffany Studios’ ecclesiastical department in the early 20th century. It’s one of many works on paper by Tiffany Studios in the Rakow Library’s collection and one of several acquired in the past two years. Other recent acquisitions include a drawing for Enamel-on-copper poppy vase by Patricia Gay (CMGL 132149), a Leslie Nash design of two Aquamarine vases (CMGL 132147), and a watercolor drawing of an enamel on copper covered box with yellow chrysanthemum decoration (CMGL 134733).
The scene sketched out for the window depicts Saint Martin of Tours (ca. 316-397), capturing the famous episode in Martin’s life when, as a Roman soldier stationed in Gaul (now France), he passed a half-naked beggar on the road and was compelled to cut his cloak in half to cover him. That evening, Martin had a dream that Jesus appeared to him clothed in his torn cloak. Martin left the army soon after this episode and devoted himself to Christ; his life’s work was dedicated to founding monasteries and converting rural areas to Christianity. St. Martin was one of the most popular saints during the Middle Ages with this scene being the most popular depiction of him.
The design drawing is signed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
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