By Cheryl Magness
On Oct. 3, the Saint Louis Art Museum debuted the exhibit “Art Along the Rivers: A Bicentennial Celebration.” The exhibit highlights artwork of the last thousand years from the greater St. Louis area and includes sculpture, textiles, drawings, musical instruments, furniture, paintings and more. One piece to be featured is “St. Mark,” a stained glass window on loan from the LCMS.
The St. Mark window is normally on display in the lobby of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) International Center (IC) in St. Louis, along with windows depicting St. Matthew, St. Luke and St. John. Designed by German-American Lutheran artist Siegfried Gerhard Reinhardt (1925–1984), the windows were originally installed in the LCMS president’s office in the early 1950s when the Synod headquarters was located at 210 N. Broadway (where Busch Stadium is now located). In 1973, when the headquarters moved to 500 N. Broadway, the windows took up residence on either side of the altar in the chapel.
Reinhardt was born in Eydkuhnten, Germany, and immigrated to the United States with his parents in 1928. He became a U.S. citizen in 1936. He served in the U.S. Navy and attended Washington University, St. Louis, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature in 1950. The same year, he was included in a Life magazine article about up-and-coming young artists. According to a Sept. 12, 1960, article in Time magazine, he had no formal art training but wanted to be a painter from the age of 11.
Reinhardt was a member of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild and exhibited his work at a variety of locations, including the Whitney Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Columbus Gallery Museum of Art, the University of Connecticut and the Midtown Galleries. In the late 1950s, he hosted a television show about art titled “Man of Sorrows.” He is perhaps best known for designing “Aviation … An American Triumph,” a 142-foot mural at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, unveiled in 1982, that depicts the history of aviation. Concordia Historical Institute has several pieces of Reinhardt’s work in its archive.
Reinhardt designed stained glass windows for Emil Frei, Inc., of Kirkwood, Mo. Founded in 1898, the company is known worldwide for its stained glass collection. Among Reinhardt’s designs for Emil Frei is the Easter window at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, St. Louis (1959), and the baptistry window at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, St. Louis (1960).
In an August 2020 letter to LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison requesting the loan of the St. Mark window, Brent Benjamin, the then-director of the Saint Louis Art Museum, wrote:
“St. Mark is a significant example of St. Louis-made stained glass and would make an important addition to the exhibition section on regional craft and production. The window is a compelling example of mid-century religious art designed by Siegfried Reinhardt, one of the Frei Studio’s leading artists. The window beautifully demonstrates the artistry and techniques for which the Studio, established in St. Louis in 1898, continue to be internationally known.”
“Art Along the Rivers: A Bicentennial Celebration” will run through Jan. 9, 2022. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, and $6 for children ages 6–12. Children 5 and under, as well as museum members, are free. Tickets are also free on Fridays. In addition, the museum will offer a 50% discount on tickets in celebration of the Missouri bicentennial on the following dates: Oct. 12, 13 and 14; Nov. 9, 10 and 11; Dec. 14, 15 and 16.
For more information, visit slam.org/exhibitions/art-along-the-rivers.
Posted Oct. 13, 2021