The Henry Keck Stained Glass Studio
Henry Keck (1873 to 1956) was the son of a German woodworker who moved his family to the United States when Henry was a small child. By 1890, when Henry was seven, he was apprenticed to Louis Comfort Tiffany, learning the basics of stained glass work. Keck quickly moved beyond the mechanics of glass work and began a more artistic pursuit of the craft. After classes in New York and in his native Germany at the Royal Academy School of Industrial Art in Munich, Keck set about finding work in America, shuttling between growing cities like New York and Chicago where artisans were in greater demand.
Still, the work Keck wanted – work realizing his own designs rather than someone else’s – was difficult to find, and by 1913, at the age of 40, Henry Keck had grown weary and frustrated with working for others. After four years in Rochester at the Pike studio, where he had likely made the acquaintance of Ward Wellington Ward, a preeminent Arts & Crafts architect, Keck opened his own studio in Syracuse where Ward was working. The Arts & Crafts movement, very popular in Syracuse at the time and flourishing in upstate New York since before the turn of the century, offered Keck plenty of work, and Ward used Keck’s glass exclusively in the homes he designed.
The steady income from residential commissions allowed Keck to pursue his real passion: church windows. Commissions for these large, intricate projects came from all over, and the Gothic-style windows he designed earned Keck a great deal of recognition and respect. The Henry Keck stained glass studio quickly became one of the most respected art glass/stained glass studios in the country, remaining a productive source for quality art glass until it closed in 1974, eighteen years after Keck’s death. Henry Keck’s work was so widely distributed that even today, public buildings and residences in thirty-seven states are enhanced by his beautiful creations.