The Cold Genius

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Object Name: 
Stained Glass Panel
The Cold Genius
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 76.2 cm; Bottom W: 88.9 cm; Top W: 109.2 cm
On Display
Credit Line: 
Gift of the Ennion Society
Web Description: 
Judith Schaechter is an influential artist and teacher, as well as an international leader in the production of artistic stained glass. Her works are generally displayed, and meant to be understood, as paintings, and not as architectural glass. Much of Schaechter’s work is inspired by music, and The Cold Genius came from her experience of the 17th-century aria “The Cold Song,” as performed by the German singer and musician Klaus Nomi (1944–1983). Nomi was well known in New York’s East Village scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, a hotbed of development for punk rock, the visual arts, and the avant-garde. His performance of the piece, for which he was made up as a clown, was sung in a high, brittle, and otherworldly countertenor. “The Cold Song” was written for the opera King Arthur (1691) by Henry Purcell (British, 1659–1695), with libretto by the influential poet and dramatist John Dryden (British, 1631–1700). In the opera, a character known as the Cold Genius represents the spirit of winter, who, in the aria, acknowledges the power of love to warm the deepest cold, to thaw Winter itself. In this work, the scene is presented as if on a stage, with curtain-like shadows parting to reveal the Cold Genius, who is “frozen” from the viewer beneath a pane of colorless glass that covers the entire panel. Huddled in a brilliant red, quilted cloak, he lies unmoving on an ice-covered pond. His face conveys the pathos that is the hallmark of Schaechter’s uncomplaining protagonists, who silently experience suffering, loss, and redemption. Signed “J.S. 2009,” along lower edge. For more information, see Alex Baker, Extra Virgin: The Stained Glass of Judith Schaechter, Philadelphia: Free News Projects in collaboration with Lawrence Publications, 2006.
Claire Oliver Gallery, Source
J. S 2009
enameled. bottom right side of glass
Primary Description: 
Stained Glass Panel, "The Cold Genius". Colorless, red, blue, blue-green, orange, gold, and brown cut glass, sandblasted, engraved and painted, assembled with copper foil. The panel is an irregular rectangle, widest at the top and tapering to the bottom. The colored and assembled glass is covered with a sheet of colorless glass to emphasize the winter scene. The window depicts a male figure lying on his side, wearing a red quilted robe, on top of a frozen pond. The pond is surrounded by winter trees, and snowflakes fall in the foreground. The scene is presented as if set on a stage, with diaphanous "curtains" framing the scene.
The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter's Stained-Glass Art
Memorial Art Gallery of The University of Rochester 2020-02-15 through 2020-05-24
Toledo Museum of Art 2020-10-03 through 2021-01-03
Des Moines Art Center 2021-02-12 through 2021-05-23
The Path to Paradise is the first survey and major scholarly assessment of this groundbreaking artist’s 37-year career. Organized by the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, the exhibition will be on view in Rochester from February 15 through May 24, 2020, after which it will travel to two additional venues in the United States. Drawn from both private and institutional collections, The Path to Paradise will feature approximately 45 of Judith Schaechter’s stained-glass panels along with a selection of related drawings and process materials. Judith Schaechter (b. 1961) has stretched the medium of stained glass into a potent and incisive art form for the 21st century, boldly paving her path in the diverse arena of contemporary art. Her work is represented in over a dozen museums including the Museum of Art and Design, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Toledo Museum of Art, and in major exhibitions around the world. In addition, through her extensive teaching, she has furthered her influence to her peers and younger generations of artists. Her awards include two NEA Visual Artists’ Fellowships, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship Award, a USA Artists Rockefeller Fellow, and an American Craft Council College of Fellows Award. Lead support is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation, with additional funding from the Gallery Council of the Memorial Art Gallery, Pamela Miller Ness and Paul Marc Ness, and the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass. The exhibition is also made possible by the Margaret Davis Friedlich and Alan and Sylvia Davis Memorial Fund, the John D. Greene Endowment for Contemporary Exhibitions, the Grant Holcomb Endowment, and the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Fund. The exhibition is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding has been provided by: Robert A. and Maureen S. Dobies Endowment Fund Irving and Essie Germanow Fund Kayser Fund Elizabeth and Eric Rennert Family Fund
The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter's Stained-Glass Art (2020) illustrated, pp.120-121;
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2010 (2011) illustrated, p. 65, #46; BIB# AI86878
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2010 (2011) illustrated, p. 2; BIB# AI90243
The Gather (2011) illustrated, p. 16;
Recent Acquisitions: Modern Glass (2011) illustrated, p. 16; BIB# AI88816
Recent Important Acquisitions (New Glass Review 32) (2011) illustrated, p. 121, middle; BIB# AI95695