Entire ceiling painted by Grell
Assumption Catholic Church, Chicago 1939
In May of 2012, I telephoned Assumption Catholic Church and talked to Fr. Joseph Chamblain, O.S.M., pastor at Assumption Catholic Church at 323 West Illinois St in Downtown Chicago to set an appointment to go photograph and see the murals inside the church. I believed that Louis Grell painted several murals inside the historic church. Several sources confirmed he painted numerous ceiling murals back in 1939.
After walking into the beautiful church I immediately knew this was the work of Grell. Previous credit was given to Joseph Grill, President of the Chicago Art Institute. There never has been a ‘President’ or a Joseph Grill associated with the Chicago Art Institute. Apparently the Pastor in the 1930’s got Louis’ name wrong.
I met with Fr. Chamblain, who gave me a tour, showed me some historical archives and allowed me to photograph the murals. There are three larger murals painted on the ceiling, probably oil on canvas, surrounded by numerous decorative banners and depictions of the twelve apostles painted into lunettes around the arch of the ceiling. It is believed that Louis Grell painted the entire ceiling and the twelve apostles in 1939.
Several months later in August, I received a phone call, followed by several emails from Fr. Conrad Borntrager O.S.M., who is attached to the regional office and is responsible for historical archives related to the numerous Catholic Churches of the Midwest. Fr. Conrad offered assistance with editing my text related to the Assumption Church and asked for documentation supporting our claim that Louie painted the ceiling murals. We exchanged numerous emails and historical information related to the church and the murals. Thank you so much Fr. Chamblain and Fr. Borntrager for allowing us to photograph Louie’s murals inside your beautiful church and sharing so much rich history relating to Assumption Catholic Church.