By now, you may have heard the exciting news that Marc Chagall’s America Windows will be re-installed in the museum next month. The windows went off view in 2005 due to the risk of vibrations produced during construction of the Modern Wing. They have since undergone extensive conservation treatment and archival research over the last five years.
The “Chagall Windows” (as they are commonly known) were installed in 1977 and are among the most beloved works in the museum’s collection. Although Chagall had been working with stained-glass for nearly 20 years when he created the windows, these were his first exploration of secular subjects. In contrast to religious themes, the six panels celebrate the arts and patriotism: music, painting, literature, theater, dance, and freedom. The windows also commemorate America’s bicentennial—the literature panel shows the signing of the Declaration of Independence—and they were dedicated to the memory of Mayor Richard J. Daley, whom Chagall had met at the opening of his Four Seasons mosaic mural in what is now Chase Tower Plaza.
Of course, you may know the windows best from their cameo in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but we hope you will stop by soon to reacquaint yourself. Also, check back here as we explore the intricacies of the windows and their conservation in a series of posts over the next few months.