Windows from France
Stained glass windows imported from France are not very numerous in churches built before the 1930s in Quebec. Studios of Champigneulle (Paris) and Francis Chigot (Limoges) are major suppliers.
The situation changed quite a lot around 1945, when several churches placed orders to French workshops. We can assume that the post-war reconstruction effort in France has helped to make very competitive local stained glass windows manufacturers in external markets. Because the intervention of the public authorities was considerable: of the 2500 churches built in France from 1945 to 1970, a thousand was at the expense of the state in the post-war reconstruction.1
These French works share a valuable part of the stained glass inventory in Quebec. The arts movement towards the contemporary and the development of innovative techniques have given artworks that stand out from the traditional stained glass windows.
1) Franck Debié, Pierre Vérot, Urbanisme et art sacré, Paris, Critérion, 1991, p. 154
Auguste Adolphe Labouret (1871-1964): he was responsible for the restoration of many stained glass windows of Brittany after the First World War. He invented and patented the technique of the glass slab. He was made Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 1938. His most important work is the set of 240 stained glass windows of the Basilica of Ste-Anne in Beaupré. St Joseph's Oratory in Montreal also has a few stained glass windows from Labouret.
Mauméjean Frères: in Spain and Paris and over three generations, the Mauméjean brothers formed prolific factories with a hundred employees where they honored more than 500 orders mainly in Europe, but also in America for 65 of them. Their stained glass artworks feature thick, hammer-hewn slabs, giving relief to the windows. The style is definitely Art Deco under the guidance of Carl, the last master glazier of the family who died in 1957. Mauméjean Frères has been rewarded several times in international exhibitions.
Raphaël Lardeur (1890-1967): he founded his workshop in Paris in 1921, but it was in Picardy that most of his stained glass windows were located, in departments devastated by the war of 1914-1918. Its Art Deco-style windows use transparent and tinted glass, giving a generous color saturation. In Sherbrooke, the large windows of the St-Michel Cathedral are decorated with Lardeur's stained glass.
Max Ingrand (1908-1969): trained at the Paris School of Fine Arts, he became a major figure in the Art Deco movement. He is artistic director of FontanaArte for a decade, collaborator of Saint-Gobain, founder of the company Verre Lumière and appointed Officier de la Légion d'honneur. Among his many stained glass projects, in Quebec, he produced the imposing window of the cathedral St-Jean-Baptiste in Nicolet and he delivered stained glass for the following churches: Saints-Martyrs of Victoriaville, St-Edmond of Lac-au-Salmon, St-Etienne in La Malbaie and Christ-Roi in Saguenay.
Finally, there are two other names to be mentioned. Vitraux d’Art E. Rault from Rennes, Brittany. Founded in 1898 by Emmanuel Rault, his sons Paul and André continued the studio's activities. And Gabriel Loire, established in Chartres in 1946. The Ateliers Loire are still in business today. They produced stained glass windows of the Saint Paul Chapel of the Douglas Hospital in Montreal.
Serge Rodrigue - atelier-rodrigue.com