The History of Dalle Stained Glass

If you have seen Dalle stained glass around here in the Kansas City area you probably love it as much as we do. A type of stained glass made with cement or epoxy joints rather than lead caming–it is wonderful to see this sturdy type of stained glass art both indoors and out. Another cool thing about Dalle stained glass is that is was created rather recently. Reaffirming our belief that stained glass truly is timeless. Since it is a more modern form of stained glass works, its origins are fairly well recorded and it is interesting to watch how this style spread like wildfire across the world in only a few decades. 

Where Dalle Stained Glass Was First Made

The very first Dalle faceted windows were produced in France following World War I. It seems an obscured artist collaborated with a french glass shop to have these cement and stained glass panels created for a commission. Soon after this type of stained glass is seen in French architect Auguste Perret’s work. He used it to create faceted glass concrete walls in the Notre-Dame du Raincy church in a Paris suburb. Soon after, many French artists began using faceted glass in their architectural projects. Many of which were churches. 

Jean Gaudin is given credit for fully developing the technique. He would have large Slabs of colored glass, up to 1.25” thick poured then shaped by breaking with a hammer or cutting with a saw. The edges of the resulting pieces would sometimes be chipped to increase the faceted effects. He then laid out the glass pieces into a traditional stained-glass design in a framed bed of sand. The substrate of sand and cement or epoxy resin was then poured between the glass pieces. When it dried and clean it resulted in thicker, studier glass and frames with enchantingly deeper color effects However, it wasn’t until the1950s and 1960s that this glass really came into prominence.

Dalle de Verre Stained Glass In the 1950s and 60s

Dalle de Verre spread first to the UK and was brought there by a man named Pierre Fourmaintraux. He trained Dom Charles Norris in the technique, a Dominican Friar who went on to become one of the biggest proponents of Dalle de Verre. His work can be seen incorporated into several Modernist Catholic churches today. Although early Dalle US installations were made earlier in the century, Cathedral of St. Joseph where Jean Barillet created 26 windows that were each 67 feet high and 13 1/2 feet wide around 1959. These windows arguably kicked off the Dalle de Verre stained glass period in the US.

Sadly, this type of stained glass fell out of favor in the 1970s. This was in part because of changing aesthetic changes but also because the glass was sometimes subject to structural problems over time. The size, weight and difficult to remove the cement matrix in which the glass sat posed challenges to restoration

Here at Kansas City Stained Glass or any of our nationwide locations we are able to work on and restore you Dalle stained glass to preserve a piece of history.  Contact us today for more information.