Secret Lives Tour: The Art and Murals of Hildreth Meière



Join the Historic Districts council for a very special Secret Lives Tour: The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière. Hildreth Meière (1892-1961) was a renowned Art Deco muralist, whose numerous gfd commissions grace government and commercial buildings and houses of worship across the country. Her work can be seen all over New York City. In midtown Meière’s mosaics decorate Temple Emanu-El, at St. Bartholomew’s Church the stained glass clerestory windows she designed make the room feel etherial and the her enormous mixed-metal and enamel sculptures adorn the façade of Radio City Music Hall. Curator Catherine Coleman Brawer, author of Walls Speak: The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière, will lead the tour. In addition, Meière’s granddaughter, Hildreth Meière Dunn, will be a special guest on the tour and will discuss her work with the International Hildreth Meière Association, dedicated to promote and perpetuate Meière’s legacy.




Temple Emanu-El- Arch Mosaics in Main Sanctuary

The architects Kohn, Butler and Stein designed [the] Temple Emanu-El, which was constructed in 1929, and is currently the largest synagogue in the world. The arch in the main sanctuary features a mosaic design incorporating Judaic symbols within incredibly intricate geometric patterns. Our tour leader will describe the process of creating colored glass and gold-leafed tesserae for the mosaic. She will also explain how European craftsmen fabricated mosaics from Meière’s designs. Temple Emanu-El remains a masterpiece of modern Byzantine-style glass mosaic.


St. Bartholomew’s Church – TheTransfiguration, Half Dome of Apse

Hildreth Meière, St Bartholomew's, NYCThe American architect, Bertram Goodhue designed this Romanesque-style building, which was constructed in 1918. The dome of the apse within St. Bartholomew’s remained bare for ten years; the length of time it took the church to secure the funds that would be used to decorate the apse with Meière’s Byzantine-style glass mosaic. Her design depicts the Transfiguration as described in Mark 9: 2, 4, using small pieces of colored and gold-leafed glass called tesserae. The apse mosaic is said to contain over 300 different shades of gold. At St. Bartholomew’s Church you will also find 4 stained glass clerestory windows designed by Hildreth Meière to create an atmosphere of tranquility, warmth and light, while “symbolizing man’s aspirations as expressed in the Canticles of the Church.” Meière’s mosaics of the Six Days of Creation on the domes of the narthex are unrivaled examples of Art Deco design.


Radio City Music Hall – Dance, Drama, and Song on Façade

Radio City Music Hall was designed by the well-known architect Edward Durrell Stone, whose work can be seen everywhere from the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City to the El Panama Hotel in Panama City. There is no question as to why this famous architect asked Hildreth Meière to design roundels of Dance, Drama and Song to be mounted on the limestone façade of Radio City Music Hall. Hildreth Meière’s notably vibrant sculptures in mixed- metal and enamel are today cited as iconic Art Deco designs. Meière was honored to be the only woman muralist commissioned to design exterior decoration for the Rockefeller Center complex. Please join the Historic Districts Council as we explore the evolution of Hildreth Meière’s magnificent Art Deco masterpieces.


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Posted Under: Materials, secret lives, Secret Lives Tour, Walking Tour


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