Hamburger Fenster in Chicago

Glaskunst von John Nickelsen

Vor zwei Jahren kaufte das Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows 3 der 10 Fenster aus der ehemaligen Hamburger Lichtspielbühne, am Steindamm 51 im St. Georg Quartier, Hamburg. Die Scheiben waren ein Angebot der Galeristin Dr. Barbara Giesicke aus Badenweiler/Obereggenen.

Der damalige Besitzer der Lichtspielbühne war Franz Harten (1891-1965). Die Fenster wurden im Jahr 1932 vom Hamburger Künstler, John Nickelsen (1865-1950) entworfen und fabriziert. Sie standen fast 10 Jahre als Wandlichtsystem im Kino, überstanden die Kriegswirren im Keller des Hauses und wurden dann in das neugebaute Kino eingebaut. Mitte der 60er Jahre schloss das Kino und wurde 1971 abgerissen. Die Fenster gelangten in eine Schweizer Sammlung, aus der sie 1999 wieder an die Öffentlichkeit kamen.
Hamburger Fenster in Chicago
Barbara Giesicke erforschte die Fenster und stellte folgendes zusammen: John Nickelsen founded his stained-glass studio in the late 19th century on the Isle of Sylt. In 1903 he opened a larger studio in Hamburg, the „Nordische Kunstanstalt für Glas-Decoration“ (Nordic Art Institution for Glass Decoration). After his death in 1950 his son Harro took over the studio that was dissolved in 1990 by his son Gunnar, ending a company history of almost 90 years. The firm’s property including numerous records, diagrams and sketches was given to the Hamburg Glaziers Guild. Known to be from the artist’s hand and, most importantly, still preserved are the windows in the Bismarck Memorial Church in Aumühle near Hamburg, built between 1928 and 1930 to commemorate the German statesman Otto von Bismarck (1816-1898).

It was a period of societal and religious reorientation during which glass was celebrated by artists and architects. Many of the motifs in the cinema windows are reminiscent of works by such expressionist artists as Johann Thorn Prikker and Franz Wilhelm Seiwert as well as works by the Bauhaus group. Outfitting a cinema with stained-glass windows was very unusual at that time. In any case, no other glass installation of this type in such a location is known let alone has survived.