Built St. Louis > > MidCentury Modernism > > Emil Frei Stained Glass > > St. Marks Episcopal Church
St. Marks Episcopal Church
4712 Clifton Avenue - South City
Architect: Nagel & Dunn, 1939
Stained Glass: Emil Frei Company; designs by Robert Harmon
In a time when nobody was building anything, when historicist
revival was waning but still alive, and Modernism was still a radical
style on the fringes of popular design, a small congregation on the
south side of the city was convinced by architect Charles Nagel (aided
no doubt by the limitations of budget) to erect this boldly
contemporary church. Simple, direct, unadorned, and raw, St. Mark's
Episcopal Church was and is a landmark building, unlike anything the
city had seen, and a rarity for its time. It would become the precedent
for a whole generation of church buildings in the 1950s.
Widely hailed for its superb and uncompromising Modernism, St. Marks was completed on an astonishingly small budget of $75,000.
The serene, spare interior features stunning stained glass windows
in shades of blue and purple, an early commission for prolific artist
Robert Harmon, working with the Emil Frei company.
The window designs exhibit a prototypical version of the style
that the Emil Frei company would develop through the 1950s and 1960s.
Features which would be refined and repeated in future compositions
include the flattened visual style of the faces and bodies, the
simplied design of the figures, geometric shapes both as background
design and as elements of the figures, highly stylized lettering, and a
muted, restricted color pallette. The Art Deco influences would
reverberate through the Frei company's work for another thirty years.
Frederick Dunn and Robert Harmon would team up again ten years later for Faith Salem Church in north county.
Continue touring (MidCentury Churches) > > >
Continue touring (Emil Frei) > > >