Nicola D'Ascenzo, Untitled (Stained Glass Window)

c. 1930
Stained glass
Credit Line
Gift of Nancy R. Posel, 2016
100 x 150 in.

Conservation funds were generously provided by Nancy R. Posel and family

D’Ascenzo designed this window for a Horn & Hardart restaurant at 16th and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. The first fast-food chain in the United States, Horn & Hardart first opened in Philadelphia in 1902. It served over 800,000 people a day. The automated restaurant allowed patrons to select pre-made food displayed behind glass windows, like an early vending machine, and eat in a cafeteria style setting. Although the prices were economical, the restaurants were typically ornately decorated with stained glass windows and other beautiful architectural features, including marble countertops.

The stag depicted at the center of the window is perhaps a religious reference. In Christianity, the deer is often associated with sustenance. The deer or stag yearns for water to sustain itself physically and spiritually. The animal was often depicted in Medieval mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, and paintings drinking from a spring to rejuvenate itself. The symbol was an appropriate choice for a restaurant that provided food for millions of people.

The window was salvaged when the building was renovated. It was in a private residence before being donated to Woodmere in 2016.


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