St. Joseph ?>

St. Joseph's Church

Canaan, CT

Wall panels in nave

Stations of the Cross, 1940

Commissioned by: Oliver ReganMedium: oil and gilt on wood panelExecuted by: Hildreth MeièreAdditional fabricators: Louis Ross, gilding

Nave of St. Joseph’s Church with Stations of the Cross

Nave of St. Joseph’s Church with Stations of the Cross

Architect Oliver Regan commissioned Hildreth Meière to design Stations of the Cross as wall panels for the nave of St. Joseph’s Church in Canaan, Connecticut, a new stone church dedicated in October 1940.1 Meière’s use of light blue in the ground of the wall panels relates to the light blue and white stained glass windows in the nave. Each panel is framed, as in the following four examples:

Jesus falls for the first time

Jesus falls for the first time

Simon helps Jesus carry the cross

Simon helps Jesus carry the cross

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Jesus dies on the cross

Jesus dies on the cross

Meière had collaborated with Regan the year before on the Temple of Religion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, where she designed images of six historic religious structures that were painted on the walls of the Temple of Religion’s arcade.

Meière worked closely with gilder and wood carver Louis Ross for over two decades, from 1929 to 1952. He had carved Meière’s altarpiece for St. Paul’s Chapel at Christ Church Cranbrook in 1929, and he went on to gild twenty-five portable triptychs for the Army and Navy during World War II. Ross gilded two additional Connecticut commissions Meière received from Regan, including the Church of the Assumption, Westport, in 1940, and St. Anthony of Padua, Litchfield, in 1948.

On August 9, 1948, Hildreth Meière wrote to her daughter that she was

busy first with Lou [Ross] about the Stations [of the Cross] which I brought down (from Canaan) to fix the cracks in.2

Meière’s removable panels at St. Joseph’s Church are her first examples of Stations of the Cross in individual oil-on-wood panels, a medium she repeated for her Stations of the Cross at St. Anthony of Padua.

Jesus falls for the first time

Jesus falls for the first time

Jesus falls for the first time

Jesus falls for the first time

By contrast, she had designed Stations of the Cross in 1936 for St. Charles Borromeo (Greater Friendship Baptist Church) in Newark in the medium of terrazzo. There the background color of the figurative terrazzo panels matches the color of the terrazzo walls into which they were inserted in order to blend the narrative scenes as much as possible into the walls of the octagonal church.

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem, St. Charles Borromeo

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem, St. Charles Borromeo

2

Hildreth Meière, letter to Louise Dunn, August 9, 1948, Hildreth Meière Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

Additional Resources

Commission Location

Emblem

St. Joseph's Church
4 Main Street
Canaan, CT 06018

Get Directions