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Moses Myers House

323 E. Freemason St.
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

By Appointment
Tuesday-Thursday

10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

About the Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Weddings & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

Take a tour

We offer a number of tours on different topics. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Third Thursdays

Live art performances monthly.
See the archive

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Studio Assistantship Program

Further your career and join us in Norfolk.
Find out more

Give the Chrysler Experience

Share everything you love about the Chrysler Museum with a gift membership. Perfect for everyone on your list.

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

Moses Myers House

323 E. Freemason St.
Open Saturday and Sunday

Noon–5 p.m.

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

By Appointment
Tuesday-Thursday

10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

About the Myers House

The oldest Jewish home in America open to the public as a museum offers a glimpse of the life of an early 19th century merchant family.
More about the house

About the Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Art Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

Located in Norfolk

One Memorial Place,
Norfolk, VA
Get Directions

While You're Here

Visit our Museum Shop
and the Wisteria Cafe.

Perry Glass Studio

A state-of-art facility on the Museum’s campus. See a free glassmaking demo Tuesdays–Sunday at noon. Like what you see? Take a class with us! More about the Studio

Moses Myers House

The home of the first permanent Jewish residents of Norfolk, this historic house offers a glimpse of the life of a wealthy early 19th-century merchant family.
More about the house

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

With an extensive collection of more than 106,000 rare and unique volumes relating to the history of art, the Jean Outland Chrysler Library is one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the Library

Weddings & Event Rentals

The perfect place for your big day or special event. Get the details

Take a tour

We offer a number of tours on different topics. More about tours

Jean Outland Chrysler Library

Visit one of the most significant art libraries in the South. More about the library

About the Chrysler

Our story spans well over 100 years. See where we began, how we grew, and where we're going. Explore our history

News and Announcements

See what's happening at the Museum, read Chrysler Magazine, and find our Media Center. Read now

Location

745 Duke Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-333-6299

Always Free Parking

Get Directions

Third Thursdays

Live art performances monthly.
See the archive

Studio Team

Meet the brilliant minds behind the Studio.
See the team

Studio Assistantship Program

Further your career and join us in Norfolk.
Find out more

Give the Chrysler Experience

Share everything you love about the Chrysler Museum with a gift membership. Perfect for everyone on your list.

The Masterpiece Society

Learn about this innovative group of museum supporters.
Meet the Masterpiece Society

Planned Giving

Help ensure the long-term success of the Museum.
Learn about planned giving

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ArtExhibitionsCurrent

Agony and Ecstasy:
Contemporary Stained Glass by Judith Schaechter

On View

September 20, 2019 — January 5, 2020

Located in

Glass Projects Space

Judith Schaechter’s work probes the extremes of human experience and the intersection of the body and mind.

The overpowering emotions of agony and ecstasy are similar in intensity and create tension between illusion and truth. An important contributor to contemporary glass, Schaechter uses the very old and traditional medium of stained glass to create modern narrative artworks full of pathos, power, melancholy, and mystery.

Stained glass has its origins in medieval Europe as an architectural element used to decorate churches and deliver religious messages. Although Schaechter doesn’t focus on religious content, she invokes the aura of religiosity in her artwork to enhance the seductive power of her images.

Judith Schaechter (American, b. 1961)
The Life Ecstatic,  2016
Stained glass in lightbox
Lent by Judith Schaechter and Claire Oliver Gallery, New York
Photograph by Dominic Episcopo

Schaechter The Life Ecstatic

Shown above:
Judith Schaechter (American, b. 1961), Realism (detail), 2016, Stained glass in lightbox, Lent by Judith Schaechter and Claire Oliver Gallery, New York, Photograph by Dominic Episcopo

Human figures are arranged against a lushly-patterned color field in poses of transcendence or anguish, creating imagery that is powerful, provocative, beautiful, and disturbing. The figural scenes are distorted and borderline grotesque; yet they are still beautiful because of the illuminated, colored glass and the richness of detail.

The works are meant to be understood as paintings rather than architectural glass. She uses sandblasting, engraving, and layering of colored glass sheets to create depth, texture, and subtle variation in her color palette, much like a painter mixes pigments. The glass is assembled using a traditional copper foil and soldering techniques and then illuminated in a lightbox.

See fourteen stained-glass light boxes by the award-winning artist on view in Agony and Ecstasy.

Judith Schaechter (American, b. 1961)
Anchoress, 2015
Stained glass in lightbox
Lent by Judith Schaechter and Claire Oliver Gallery, New York
Photograph by Dominic Episcopo

Schaechter Anchoress

 

Agony and Ecstasy: Contemporary Stained Glass by Judith Schaechter was organized by the Chrysler Museum of Art.

A Peek Inside the Artist’s Studio

Judith Schaechter’s process is based on traditional stained-glass techniques, but her work is complex and often experimental in nature. Many of the creative decisions and color choices are left to the actual moment of working with glass. Finished or in-process glass elements are often stored away “until such a time as a resolution for how to use them is revealed.”

STEP 1

Doodling

Much of Judith Schaechter’s work is improvisational and made without a prior plan. The artist does a lot of doodling. “This distraction frees me to mess up. All my best work seems to result from accidents and mistakes,” she says.

Pencil sketch
cartoon of
the figure in
The Florist

Judith Schaechter, Melancholia

STEP 2

Cutting

Once the artist has an idea, she turns a doodle into a cartoon that shows how to cut and fit together the pieces of glass. Flat sheets of hand-blown “flash” glass (pale or colorless glass with a very thin veneer of intense color on the surface) are cut using a steel wheel-cutter. The shapes are refined using special pliers, and the edges are smoothed by grinding.

STEP 3

Sandblasting

Areas of color are removed from the flash glass by sandblasting (using sand at high pressure to abrade the exposed surface of the glass). This is done in stages and prepares the glass for refined detail work. It also creates a clear space for the colors of the other glass layers to show through. For example, red flash glass can be sandblasted to remove the surface color so that something blue, green, pink, or yellow can appear through the now clear glass.

STEP 4

Engraving and Filing

Detailed imagery is drawn onto the flash glass with permanent marker. In a subtractive process that removes the thin surface layer of color, the image is engraved into the glass using a series of tools. Diamond hand files are used to create tonal variations within the remaining color of the flash glass. This is the most intensive and time-consuming step in the entire process.

Individual panes of
sandblasted and
engraved red, blue, and
pink flash glass that will
be used for the figure

Judith Schaechter Sandblasted Engraved

STEP 5

Painting

Ninety-nine percent of the color in a work is generated by layering engraved and filed flash glass, but a minimal amount of painting is done for select details. Black vitreous paint is applied to the glass and fired in the kiln at 1,250°F. Two to three firings allow for rich, black tonal variation. Crimson enamel or thin washes of silver stain (for a color yellow) may be applied and fired to create additional effects.

STEP 6

Repeat Engraving, Filing, or Painting

Some stages may be repeated multiple times to achieve a desired effect.

STEP 7

Fire Polishing and Varnishing

When decoration is complete, the surface of the glass is polished with heat in the kiln or coated with a thin layer of acrylic varnish.

STEP 8

Layering

Flash glass panes are stacked one on top of another to create a multicolored composition up to five layers deep.

STEP 9

Assembling

Thin copper foil is wrapped around the edges of each piece of glass, which are then soldered together. On rare occasions, the artist joins the glass pieces with traditional lead cames (grooved strips of lead) instead of copper foil. To make a light box, the work is placed in a zinc frame and fitted with a light source for illumination.

The final figure
assembled from
stacked layers of
engraved flash glass

Judith Schaechter stained glass

Exhibition Programming

Judith Schaechter, Realism
2 p.m., Saturday, November 23

Judith Schaechter’s stained glass artworks are so detailed that they are often mistaken for paintings. Learn about her technique and discover how she updates a very old medium to present contemporary ideas when she discusses her works on view. Sign up

Judith Schaechter, Human/Nature
2 p.m. , Sunday, December 8

Join Carolyn Swan Needell, PhD for a discussion of the history of stained glass, including the Chrysler Museum's stunning Tiffany collection and contemporary artist Judith Schaechter.

Glass Suncatcher
At the Glass Studio

Stained Glass Suncatcher: Cut, foil-wrap, and solder flat glass into your own design for a decorative glass panel Sign up

More special exhibitions

On view right now

Through January 19, 2020

Thomas Jefferson, Architect:
Palladian Models, Democratic Principles, and the Conflict of Ideals
Exhibition Details

The Architecture of Slavery I Cannot
Through March 1, 2020

The Architecture of Slavery
Exhibition Details

From the Collection