Spotlight on the revival of sacred art in French-speaking Switzerland: 100 years of the Saint-Luc Group

During the first half of the 20th century, the art of stained glass experienced extraordinary vitality under the guidance of the Groupe de Saint-Luc. This Catholic artistic society, whose aim was to renew sacred art, was founded in Geneva in 1919, and went national in 1924 with the creation of the Société Saint-Luc. Its particularly active French-speaking section has left its mark on the heritage of the cantons of Fribourg, Valais, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Bern, Jura and Vaud, where the artists and architects associated with it build, decorate and renovate dozens of religious buildings. Among all the techniques mastered by the artists in this collective, the glass arts are given particular pride of place. Several leading artists in the art of stained glass, glass slabs and under-glass painting were part of the Saint-Luc Group, including Alexandre Cingria, Marcel Poncet, Emilio Maria Beretta, Jean-Edouard de Castella, Paul Monnier and Gaston Thévoz, and others such as Willy Jordan and Albert Gaeng. They used traditional stained glass techniques, while incorporating modern materials and aesthetics into their work, blending Art Deco, Cubism and Fauvism with medieval and Baroque reminiscences.

This project, funded by the CPOR and Loro Fribourg, aims to explore the work of these artists in the specific context of the revival of sacred art, to understand their artistic approach and the way in which they sought to integrate their creations into an overall concept combining architecture and decoration, in the spirit of complete works of art.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Société Saint-Luc, the results will be published in 2024 through a wide-ranging outreach programme based on an exhibition at the Vitromusée Romont, the publication of research data on the vitrosearch database and the provision of in situ information media. As part of the restoration campaign at the Catholic basilica of Notre-Dame in Lausanne, the first results relating specifically to the stained glass windows in this building will be published on the vitrosearch platform in September 2021.

Durée du projet : 2019-2024

Valérie Sauterel (depuis 2019)
Camille Noverraz (depuis 2020)
Elisa Ambrosio (peintures sous verre)

NOVERRAZ Camille, SAUTEREL Valérie, WOLF Sophie, « De béton et de verre : La dalle de verre et ses premières utilisations en Suisse », in : Monuments vaudois, 11, 2021, pp. 50-59 ; NOVERRAZ Camille, SAUTEREL Valérie, « Vitrail de la première moitié du XXe siècle : La couleur triomphante », in : La redécouverte de la couleur (Francine Giese éd.), BerlinBoston, Walter de Gruyter GmbH, 2020, pp. 101-114.