Our Church Windows
Click here for names on windows.
About Our Church Windows
An Invitation: The windows are a distinguishing feature of the interior of our church building. We invite you to come, spend some time with them and let them lead you into prayer. Two dimensions of the art work may be noted. The first is the realism of the figures. They are real people in a real setting with many details which points to the historical reality of the event. The second is the elaborate clothing and setting which do not match the circumstances of the event which points to the spiritual reality of the event.
The windows were purchased from The Munich Studio in Chicago in 1915 and are in the “Munich Style”.
Chicago was a major stained glass production center in the early 1900’s. The term “stained glass” refers to glass that is colored by a variety of techniques. The technique used by the Munich Studio was to paint enamels on the surface of the glass and then fire the piece. The Munich Studio developed a reputation for the high quality of their firing process. We have benefited from their skill since our windows are nearly a hundred years old.
The Munich Style
The Munich Style was developed from elements found in the German Baroque artistic movement during the mid-19th Century in Munich, Germany. Franz Mayer and F.X. Zettler of Munich and The Tyrol Art Glass Company of Innsbruck, Austria were leaders in the use of style of composition and painting techniques which became known as the Munich Style.
There are several characteristics which clearly identify this style. Come and see these characteristics in our windows.
Strong contrasts of light and shade which give depth to the scene. This can be seen throughout all the windows.
Elaborate detail is used throughout the scenes. Note the detail in the folds of the clothing, on the miscellaneous objects within the scene, and on architectural features. Note the detail on the organ St. Cecilia is playing, the church in the scene of Jesus giving the keys to Peter, and in all of the other windows.
The figures are depicted with realistic facial expressions responding appropriately to the circumstances of the event. What might Joseph be thinking in The Mary and Joseph Finding Jesus in the Temple Window?
Accurate perspective is maintained throughout the scene including where a small section of landscape appears from some window or other opening in the scene. Note this especially in the windows of the Death of Joseph, The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, the Marriage of Joseph and Mary, and others.
Rich ornamentation is used both within the scenes and as borders. This can be seen in all the windows.
Scenes are often framed by elaborate white and gold columns and canopies. These are present in our windows.
Other examples of the Munich Style are found in some churches an hour or two away from Kalamazoo.
- St. Andrew Cathedral, Grand Rapids has some windows from the F. Mayer Studio and others from the F. X. Zettler Studio.
- St. Alphonsus Church, Grand Rapids has windows from the F. X. Zettler Studio.
- St. Patrick Church, Parnell has windows with the Munich Style characteristics.
The windows from the former St. Joseph Seminary Chapel, Grand Rapids, which are now being used in a decorative manner within the new Cathedral Square Center on Sheldon Street in Grand Rapids, have the same characteristics.
The Munich Studio has windows in St. Joseph Church, Belding. This information is listed in an advertisement from the Munich Studio which includes St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, as well as churches from other states as far away as Texas and Montana. You might want to visit some of the above churches and take a look at their windows.
The Munich Studio in Chicago
Max Guler, an art glass painter from Munich, founded the Munich Studio in Chicago in 1903 with Denis Shanahan as secretary and L. Holzchuh as treasurer. By 1923 the firm employed about thirty craftsmen. Their work was not limited to Catholic churches, but these churches provided most of their work.
By the early 1930’s, there was no longer a great need for building new structures. Chicago had been rebuilt following the Great Fire. The construction market for public buildings and homes had responded to the population growth. The various religious groups in Chicago and the Midwest had completed their churches. This also was the time of the Great Depression and there simply was not money for extensive building and artistic expression. Many art glass companies closed during these years. The Munich Studio closed in 1932.
Contact Parish Office 343-6256 if you have any information to add to the above accounts or information about other people whose names are on our church windows.