Tuesday, April 19, 2011

St Catherine Laboure Mosaic and Windows

It's big, it's sparkly, and it's even (I think) ecumenical, if that word means universal. The mosaic sits behind the altar at St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Church in Torrance, on Redondo Beach Blvd.--near El Dorado Park and El Camino College.

According to a 1977 Los Angeles Times article, the work was done by  two sisters, Edith and Isabel Piczek--born in Hungary, educated all over, but living in Los Angeles. At the time of the article, their religious art and stained glass windows adorned 158 churches in seven countries.

PublicArtinLA credits Isabel with "The Annunciation," a mosaic over the doorway of Our Lady Queen of Angels Church (the Plaza Church).

The crowning achievement of the Piczek sisters seems to be Las Vegas' Guardian Angel Cathedral. The building itself is eye-catching an innovative, but the mosaics and stained glass are truly amazing. Here's an article with pictures about that church.

At St. Catherine Laboure, the Piczek sisters also created eight stained glass windows, according to the Times.  One of them must be this picture from the church's website.

I took pictures of the stained glass windows in the front of the church because they were very different--they look rather 1950s to me. I'm pretty sure these are not the work of the Piczek sisters.

A friend told me these windows were actually made and installed in the 1980s by a parishioner who was grateful to the Church and simple made an artistic gift of it, doing the work himself.

Here are the pictures; maybe someone knows more about their origin. The outside shot on the left came out rather well, especially if you click on it to see all the detail. The inside shot of the top of the same window...not so good. I tried both morning and afternoon, but the church faces north and the light was just too bright.

Still, you can see that it doesn't look at all like the work of Isabel and Edith Piczek. Can you believe that there is no Wikipedia entry for these incredibly skilled and prolific artists?

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