Master Carver Johannes Kirchmayer, 1860-1930
by F. Shirley ProutyContemporaries described John Kirchmayer as the greatest woodcarver since the Middle Ages. F. Shirley Prouty, a descendant, has sought to perpetuate that legacy by documenting every example of Kirchmayer’s oeuvre in America. The result is an exhaustive and meticulous study that will be indispensable for any scholar who wishes to investigate and understand ecclesiastical art and architecture in the early decades of the twentieth century.
— Richard R. Seidel, Historiographer, Diocese of Chicago (Episcopal)
Ten years of research by Shirley and her family, especially son Deane, covered parts of New England, New York, Ohio, Minnesota, the province of Ontario, and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., uncovering more of Kirchmayer’s carvings than first imagined. Shirley’s creativity, determination, and vitality have brought this project to fruition, enabling Kirchmayer’s works to be enjoyed by a larger audience. Congratulations!
The time has indeed come for the art and craftsmanship of woodcarver Johannes Kirchmayer to be recognized, and F. Shirley Prouty is to be commended for bringing his biography and work to light in this book. Kirchmayer’s intricately carved white oak and Virgin Islands mahogany are the crowning glories of the James J. Hill House, and his masterful carvings adorn great homes, churches, and public buildings throughout the United States. His story is a glowing testament to the industry and abilities of thousands of immigrant workers who poured into the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—though few matched Kirchmayer’s extraordinary precision and artistry.
From the Foreword
About the Author
Florence Shirley (Powell) Prouty grew up and graduated from high school in Arlington, Massachusetts. She attended Westbrook Junior College in Portland, Maine, finishing two years in one. Soon after, she married Ernest L. Prouty, and they have now been married for fifty-six years. They moved to Cape Cod, where they raised their family. She is an accomplished seamstress and a quilter, who also enjoys crocheting and knitting. Mrs. Prouty was a past adult advisor with the IORG, a fraternal organization for girls between the ages of eleven and twenty-one. Shirley and Ernest are retired and keep busy sharing hobbies of cooking, sewing, and tracking four parental lines of genealogy. This book is but one aspect of the treasures in their respective families’ backgrounds.
ISBN: 1-931807-60-4, $39.95 Art / Biography, 140 pages, Hardcover, 32-pages of full-color photographs, plus catalog of works and index.
To order, contact: F. Shirley Prouty, (508) 394-4601, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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