Sacred Heart Altar
William Laurel Harris painted the Sacred Heart Altar. The marble is from an Italian firm and the statue was carved in Munich, possibly by Mayer & Co. of Munich. The altar is dedicated to those that died in World War II and September 11, 2001.
The sides of the shrines had life size paintings of prophets or saints by Harris. However in the 1950s, 14 were tragically painted over with gray paint; the reason given was that some were peeling. In 1993 the church was repainted with the original color scheme but the lost decorative paintings could not be saved. However, the renovation did preserve many of Harris's most important works including Saint Patrick’s and Saint Catherine’s altars, according to Wikipedia.
At Saint Paul, William Laurel Harris (1870-1924) painted murals and designed decorative elements, continuing the work of LaFarge. He was born in Brooklyn. As a boy, he was befriended by Thomas Wilmer Dewing and Augustus and Augusta Saint-Gaudens. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Academie Julian in Paris. He started working at Saint Paul in the 1880s taking over from LaFarge. He worked the project from 1898 until 1913 when he was fired by the Paulists, possibly resulting from a personal dispute.
Today, the church is active in working with artists, sponsoring art exhibits at the church, providing networking opportunities, and fostering dialog in the artistic community. Openings NY, a project of the Paulist Fathers for artists, has regular exhibits (generally at the church) exploring broad spiritual themes. A recent exhibit explored the elusive mystery of spirit, body, and soul through a variety of visual media, including photography, painting, drawing, mixed media, and sculpture while another featured the work of Iraqi refugees. Frank Sabatté is the director of Openings NY. Frank is an artist and Paulist father and his work is presented on his website. Frank kindly provided me with detailed information on the church that I have used in this gallery.