The Heuducks

Arno (1917-89) and Paul Heuduck (1882-1972)

Arno (1917-89) and
Paul Heuduck (1882-1972)

Hildreth Meière (1892-1961), 1956

Hildreth Meière
(1892-1961), 1956

In 1923 when the mosaic factory Pühl & Wagner in Berlin sent Paul Heuduck to St. Louis to work on Byzantine-style glass mosaic commissions at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, Hildreth Meière was launching her own career. She and Paul Heuduck first worked together in 1929 on her commissions at Temple Emanu-El and St. Bartholomew’s Church in Manhattan. One reason she had wanted the firm Pühl & Wagner in Berlin to fabricate her designs was that they could ship finished mosaic segments to their American affiliate Ravenna Mosaics in New York for installation on site.

The American firm, based in St. Louis, had recently opened an office in Manhattan headed by Gerdt Wagner, the son of Pühl & Wagner owner, August Wagner. Eight years later, when Gerdt Wagner returned to Germany in 1937, Paul Heuduck became head of Ravenna Mosaics. Meière worked closely with him and his son Arno, who joined the firm in 1935, on her numerous Byzantine-style glass mosaic commissions at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis between 1945 and her death in 1961.1

In addition, Ravenna Mosaics installed Meière’s most important glass mosaic commissions in New York, including Temple Emanu-El, 1929; St. Bartholomew’s Church, 1929, 1930; One Wall Street, 1931; AT&T Long Distance Building,1932; and the Medicine and Public Health Building at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, 1939. In 1931 Ravenna Mosaics installed her work at St. Aloysius in Detroit and at the Jesuit Novitiate in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. In Washington DC, the firm installed her design of the apse in the Chapel of the Resurrection at the National Cathedral in 1951.

Meière and Paul Heuduck developed a friendship and close working relationship. When Meière had a problem with a commission she asked him to speak to the client on her behalf. She, in turn, gave him the opportunity to bid on jobs with which she was involved. When Meière died, Paul Heuduck wrote:

We were friends and close associates for almost 38 years. . . . Mrs. Meière was greatly admired, and will be missed very much by many people, especially so by both me and my son Arno.2
1

For a history of the Ravenna Mosaic Company, see The Ravenna Project and Saint Louis University Archives, DOC REC 50 (Ravenna Mosaic Company Records), and Martha Ramsey Clevenger, introduction, Emil Frei, Jr., Collection Register, Missouri Historical Museum, St. Louis, Missouri.

2

Paul Heuduck, letter to Louise Dunn, May 2, 1961, Hildreth Meière Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.