Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mid-Century Works of the Emil Frei Company

I ONCE MET Stephen Frei, of the Emil Frei Stained Glass company of Saint Louis County, Missouri. Naïvely, I asked him if he had a list of Catholic churches that had his company’s work. “No,” he said, since the company’s work can be found in “about half” of them.

Impressive.

The website, Built St. Louis (“Dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture in St. Louis, Missouri”), offers a detailed guide to the architecture of this region. It has a new feature — “The Emil Frei Stained Glass Company — Mid-Century Modernist Stained Glass,” which not only has photos of Frei’s Modernist works from 1939 onwards, but also links to Gothic-inspired work from earlier in the century, as well as biographies of artists who worked for the company.

Whether or not you like Modernism in ecclesiastical architecture, the work of Frei is among the best made in that style, and the Saint Louis area has some very good examples.

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