Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday Wonder: Rowan LeComte

You borrow one of the greatest  forces of nature
and you use it to stir the emotions and the human spirit.
~ Rowan LeComte

Rowan LeComte, who died February 11, 2014, was just 16 years old when he sold for $100 two drawings for production of a stained glass window for St. Dunstan's Chapel in the magnificent Washington National Cathedral. The Building Committee's approval of those drawings was the beginning of LeComte's decades-long relationship with the cathedral, where he collaborated with Dieter Goldkuhle, who fabricated LeComte's designs. LeComte created designs for more than 40 of the cathedral's 215 stained glass windows.

LeComte's and Goldkuhle's close and fascinating association, which culminated with their masterpiece, Creation the Rose Window, was the subject of a wonderful documentary, Let There Be Light, by producer-director Peter Swanson. The documentary, a six-years-long effort, was awarded the 2013 "Best of the Festival" award at the Washington, D.C., Independent Film Festival

The first video below is the trailer for the film, which is narrated by Garrison Keillor. The second is an excerpt from the then-film-in-progress that highlights the work on the Rose Window. Comprising more than 10,500 pieces of stained glass, the Rose Window was dubbed by the late art and architecture critic Wolf Von Eckardt "a glorious hallejujah in colored light".

LeComte will be missed. He leaves behind a legacy of wonder.


"Requiescat in pace, Rowan LeCompte", Washington National Cathedral, February 12, 2014 (Photo Gallery)

Matt Schudel, "Rowan LeCompte DIes at 88; Stained-Glass Artist Designed National Cathedral Windows", The Washington Post, February 15, 2014

Tribute to Dieter Goldkuhle, Washington National Cathedral, March 17, 2011

Justine Kenin, "Stained Glass Artist Lets the Light Through at Last", NPR, April 11, 2009 (Text and Audio)

Lecture by Rowan LeComte, March 24, 2001

Facts and Figures About Washington National Cathedral

Let There Be Light on FaceBook

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