Returning to Glory: LaFarge Windows Restoration Proceeding Apace


It’s been a long labor of love and scholarship for Newport art expert William Vareika, just as the Noreen Stonor Drexel Chapel, under construction on the campus of Salve Regina, has been a treasured personal project of Mrs. Drexel’s.


The two met yet again at a reception at  William Vareika Fine Arts on Bellevue Avenue, and shared an emotional moment as the window named for Mrs. Drexel’s Late huband, John R. Drexel III, was presented to her by Salve President Sister Jane Gerety and Mr. Vareika. Welcoming the invited guests was Michael Semenza, and Alison Vareika was hostess for the by-invitation-only event.


Sister Jane Gerety, Noreen Stonor Drexel, and Michael Semenza

Also acknowledged was Roberto Rosa, of Serpentino in Massachusetts, the conservators currently restoring the windows that will become a part of the Our Lady of Mercy Chapel, to be completed in the spring.


Mr. Vareika explained how fitting it was that the windows were returned to Newport, where the artist John Lafarge lived and painted. The influence of the painter was so great on the young Mr. Vareika that he left law school to follow art.


“The project took on a life of its own,” Mr Vareika said, and added that Sister Therese Antone, former Salve Regina University President, urged him to “have faith.”


On hand at the reception were Frank and Betsy Ray (she of Christie’s), George Herrick, Gisela Rogers, Washington (Rip) Irving IV, Hugh D. (Yusha) Auchincloss, Dean de la Nestle and James Gorman of the University, Albert (Buck) Sherman and his wife Jocelyn, and Margo and Richard Grosvenor.





Mr. Vareika speaking of his dedication to LaFarge

The host with Frank & Betsy Ray

Admiring the John R. Drexel window

Michael Semenza with Mrs. Drexel

 Karitas Kristjans Dottir, Bill Vareika

Margo Grosvenor

Listening to Sister Jane Gerety

 Robert Rosa of Serpentino, restorer

Tom Rogers

Dean de la Nestle & James Gorman, of Salve Regina

 Gisela Rogers and George Herrick

The LaFarge wall

Hugh D. (Yusha) Auchincloss and Rip Irving

The John R. Drexel III window

The artist John LaFarge


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