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Crossings and Dwellings: Restored Jesuits, Women Religious, American Experience 1814-2014

Wilhelm Lamprecht (Bavarian, 1838-1901)Pere Marquette and the Indians, 1869 Oil on canvas 431/2"  x 53" 00.3 Gift of Rev. Stanislaus P. Lalumiere, SJ Wilhelm Lamprecht was born in Allenschonsbach, Wûrzburg in Northern Bavaria. Although sources are slim and vary widely, a composite outline for his life can be attempted. After finishing his classical education, he studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in Munich. At age 15 (perhaps), he emigrated to the United States and was active in Cincinnati (a largely German settlement) between 1853-1859. He worked with George Lang, also born in Bavaria (1816) who was active in Cincinnati from at least 1853; perhaps Lang invited Lamprecht over. From 1859-1867 (perhaps to avoid the Civil War as Cincinnati was a border city) he returned to Bavaria and studied in Munich.  In 1867, Lamprecht returned to the U.S. and co-founded the Institute of Catholic Art (or Christian Art Society) with a Fr. Anthony Schroeninger. Their Institute specialized in decorating churches across the midwest and east coast (see, for example, St. Francis Xavier in New York City). Two years later, he painted Pere Marquette and the Indians (1869) for a fundraiser meant to assist impoverished artists who were friends of the Art Society. The raffle was won by a shoemaker who doesn’t seem to have been impressed. He immediately disposed of his prize for a small price.After passing through several hands the painting was purchased by Fr. Francis X. Weninger, SJ, a widely-known German preacher who traveled throughout the Midwest from his home base in Cincinnati. Eventually the painting was acquired by Fr. Stanislaus Lalumiere, SJ (who had strong Jesuit ties in Cincinnati). Lalumiere donated the painting to Marquette College during its second academic year (1882-1883). The image achieved wider fame about fifteen years later when it was used for one of the nine commemorate stamps in the Trans-Mississippi Issue. The “Trans-Miss” was issued to mark the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition held in Omaha, Nebraska. The finely engraved stamps depict various scenes of the West and are today highly prized by collectors.Lamprecht’s scene is an American Romantic depiction, idealizing the pristine “frontier” and its innocent indigenous inhabitants. It recalls the year 1673 in which Marquette arrived at the lower Wisconsin River near its mouth where it empties into the Mississippi. It is a moment that would irrevocably alter the continent’s history for both good and ill: Europeans had found what indigenous peoples called the “Messipi” — “the Great Water.” The placement of this painting in the exhibition draws on its ability to capture in a succinct image the current of Crossings and Dwellings. In a more particular way, it has been situated so that it looks over the collection of maps drawn by Pierre Jean De Smet, SJ. Just as Marquette needed to ask for directions from his indigenous, so too De Smet’s numerous travels and maps depended on the directions, both verbal and drawn, shared with him. Finally, the painting links the pre-Suppression and post-Restoration Society of Jesus. The 19th-century Jesuits seem to have had numerous ways of building hybrids of continuity — “invented tradition" — across the chasm of the 1773-1814 Suppression. For example, they carried across the ocean the bodily remains of numerous saints and blessed of the Society in the small portable reliquary kept at St. Stanislaus, Florissant. They exhumed Père Sébastien Meurin’s body on the Illinois side of the Mississippi and transported it across the river to be re-interred in their post-Restoration cemetery. They named their new college for Père Jacques Marquette, a hero of both the pre-Suprression Society and of their expanding adopted American nation. Finally, they acquired this 19th-century romantic re-framing of a foundational 17th-century moment —- an artistic hybrid which is not unlike one of the monstrances in this exhibition. The upper body of the St. Charles Borromeo monstrance is of French origin and contemporaneous with the explorations of Jacques Marquette; while the lower-body wooden frame that makes its use possible was added in 19th-century America. A fitting postscript: the work was painted by an artist who, at the end of his life, returned to Germany (1901) in order to die in his homeland. Lender: Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University

Using art, historical maps, broadsheets, books, liturgical objects, and textiles, Crossings and Dwellings tells the story of 19th-century European Jesuits and women religious who arrived on the country’s expanding western frontier to serve both indigenous and immigrant populations. This exhibition includes liturgical and educational treasures, such as globes by Willem Jansz Blaeu (Dutch, 1571–1638), drawings by Nicolas Point, S.J. (French, 1799–1868), maps by Pierre Jean De Smet, S.J. (Belgian, 1801–1873), the chalice of Sébastien-Louis Meurin, S.J. (French, 1707–1777), a cope made by St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, RSCJ (French, 1769–1852), and vestments created by indigenous people and presented to De Smet. The exhibition will also examine the pioneering role of the Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) in building Chicago educational institutions, including several schools in Holy Family Parish, Immaculata High School, and Mundelein College. 

Crossings and Dwellings commemorates both the 200th anniversary of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus (1814–2014) and a century of women’s education at Loyola-Mundelein (1914– 2014). July 19-October 19, 2014 Loyola University Museum of Art


Jazmin Bejarano