Woman with Jug

Reverse Painting Technique in Stained Glass:

Woman with Jug

Woman with Jug

RUDY BROTHERS COMPANY

  • Types of glass: 1. Opalescent 2. Striated 3. Mottled

  • Painting of details on both front and back panels as well as top corners

  • Multiple Layers

 

This window is alive with color. The blue of the robe is especially vibrant and perhaps represents the water in the jug.

As in this window, the Rudy Brothers often layered painting on the back of opalescent glass to great effect. This was an unusual technique for an American school artist. Here, the landscape, including the columns, plants, and flowers, are executed in this manner. But other features in this window are typical of the American school. For example, the artist painted the face and hands of the woman and depicted her clothing by layering multiple colors and types of glass. The birds at the feet of the woman may be the barn swallows that the Rudy Brothers used as a signature mark.

J. Horace Rudy, founder of the Rudy Brothers Company, had ties to two other famous stained glass artists. During his apprenticeship in Philadelphia, Rudy trained under the talented Frederick Wilson. Later, Charles Connick began his career as an apprentice to Mr. Rudy.

BIBLICAL STORY OF THE WINDOW

The identity of this woman remains a mystery. However, in other religious art, Mary sometimes appears in a similar pose. Other women in the Bible, such as Rebekah and the Samaritan woman, also often draw or carry water.

Woman with Jug

Rudy Brothers Company

Detail of Woman with Jug

Rudy Brothers Company

Detail of Woman with Jug

Rudy Brothers Company

Detail of Woman with Jug

Rudy Brothers Company

J. Horace Rudy (1870-1940)

Rudy Brothers Company

J. Horace Rudy and his three brothers may not have planned on going into business together—one was a chemist and another was a baseball player! However, they combined their artisanal skills and developed a reputation as talented stained glass artists. The Rudy Brothers Company produced hundreds of stained glass windows for churches, businesses, mausoleums, and homes from Pittsburgh to the Midwest.

After technical training at Spring Garden Institute, J. Horace Rudy apprenticed with a furniture maker and then with Alfred Godwin’s Philadelphia glass studio. He had a master teacher in Fredrick Wilson who worked for the firm a brief time that overlapped with the period when Rudy was there. Horace left to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts at about the same time Wilson left to work for Louis C. Tiffany.

In 1893, Horace moved to Pittsburgh, reportedly at the request of H. J. Heinz who wanted him to create windows for his mansion and his factory. By the following year, Horace and his three brothers had opened a partnership in Pittsburgh with Valdemar F. Reich, who left the business a year later. The Rudy Brothers experienced substantial success. They opened a second studio in York, Pennsylvania, around 1900. They incorporated in 1904. Although they faced difficulties during the Great Depression, the business continued until 1962. The brothers developed good working relationships with architects who provided them with work.

J. Horace Rudy created windows with brilliant colors. He also used an unusual technique for an American School artist, applying paint to the back of opalescent glass. Additionally, the firm used techniques like those of Louis C. Tiffany and John La Farge, such as layering of glass. This multi-faceted approach to window design resulted in stunning creations, such as the Woman with Jug and Good Samaritan windows in our Collection. Rudy Brothers windows are usually not signed.