William Vareika Unveils Rare LaFarge Windows

John LaFarge, renowned artist and Renaissance man

John LaFarge, exceptional painter, muralist, and stained glass designer, and one of the northeast’s plein air painters, was a rather scandalous fellow who created extraordinary stained glass windows, now scattered into private collections and museums, as the buldings for which they were created have been dismantled.


The Bellevue Gallery of Mr. Vareika is a cathedral dedicated (mostly) to New England artists with associations in Rhode Island, so it is fitting that he (no mean art sleuth) located a cache of LaFarge windows in Massachusetts, thirteen of which will be incorporated into the new Our Lady of Mercy chapel and Spiritual Center, under construction on Ochre Court Avenue, at Salve Regina University.  First the panels are undergoing restoration, a painstaking process.  A “before and after” example of the process can be studied on the gallery’s second floor.


An unrestored window



LaFarge owned a house in Newport, and painted in an impressionistic style.  One of his paintings is of Hanging Rock in Middletown.   A cocktail reception benefiting with windown’s installation fund was held at the gallery recently, attended by two of LaFarge’s grandsons.  Newport Seen caught up with LaFarge's great-grandson and his wife, Albert and Elizabeth LaFarge of Massachusetts, who were delighted with the exhibition of 160 works. Another great-grandson and a great-great-grandson of the artist's attended the opening reception.


A computerized show of the chapel’s architecture and construction was viewed by Sister Therese Antone, former president of Salve Regina. Paul Miller of the Preservation Society, Councilman Justin McLaughlin, Dorrance Hamilton, Ruth Orthwein, Kim Herrlinger, Nancy Rothe, Sandra Ourosoff, and Ron Fleming discussed the canvases, while a violinist played Bach in the first floor gallery. William Vareika spoke with guests and collectors about this remarkable exhibit, and Alison and Hope Vareika served as hostesses.  The LaFarge exhibition runs through November 30 at the gallery, 212-214 Bellevue Avenue, Newport.

Stained glass awaiting restoration

The Bellevue Avenue gallery window

William Vareika and Dorrance Hamilton

A violinist playing Bach

Ruth Thumbtzen, Kathy Horoschak of Salve Regina

City Councilman Justin McLaughlin, Jack Maytum

Ms. Horoschak examines a window

Paul Miller, Curator of The Preservation Society


The LaFarge exhibition


Marianne Vareika


Wendy Harvey,  NS's Linda Phillips, and Cheryl Mrozowski

Barbara Caldwell


A stained glass memorial

Sister Therese Antone viewing monitor

Visual of the new chapel

The LaFarge exhibition

Alison Vareika greeting guests


Kim Herrlinger, Nancy Rothe, and friend

Sandra Ourosoff & Ronald Lee Fleming


Lindsay Baker with Hope and Christian Vareika

Albert and Elizabeth LaFarge

Ellen Barnes, Sue Klau, Ruth Orthwein

Jacqueline Hodgson

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