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St. Mary’s Church at Christmas


Between 1935 and 1936, Charles Eames received two important commissions for churches in Northeast Arkansas. This postcard depicts the interior of the larger of the two churches, St. Mary’s in Helena, Arkansas. Charles got the job in part because he offered to design and oversee everything, from the floor coverings to the vestments to be worn by the priests. In aid of this work, he recruited three significant individuals from St. Louis, Missouri, the work of whom can be seen in this postcard. Charles Quest, a painter and instructor Charles met at Washington University, and whose work was later exhibited at MoMA and is included in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, delivered the mural that acts as a centerpiece within the space. Another former Washington University connection, Emil Frei Jr., son of the Munich-born stained glass maker who established a highly reputable studio in St. Louis in the late 19th century, was responsible for the stained glass windows. Given the budgetary constraints for building in rural Arkansas at the height of the Great Depression, Charles directed the design and accompanying decorations as a contemporary adaptation of prosaic Romanesque architecture. Working within these constraints, the results were noteworthy enough to later catch the eye of Eliel Saarinen, who would offer Charles a fellowship at the Cranbrook Art Academy. The church remains much in the same condition today.

  • Manufacturer: Kolorvue by Artvue
  • Medium:Printed paper
  • Dimensions:5 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (14 x 8.9 cm)
  • Item:A.2019.1.047