Alois Lang, Master Woodcarver
by Tim Gleisner
Wednesday, February 20 – 7:00 p.m.
Library of Michigan – 702 W. Kalamazoo
Tim Gleisner, Head of Special Collections at the Library of Michigan, will be discussing the life and work of master woodcarver Alois Lang. Lang (1872-1954) was a Master Woodcarver at the American Seating Company and one of the artists responsible for bringing the medieval art of ecclesiastical carving to life in the United States.
Lang was born in Oberammergau, Bavaria, a town long known for its excellence in wood carving. He was apprenticed to his cousin Andreas Lang around the age of 14 and moved to the United States in 1890 at the age of 19. Lang first found work in Boston carving elaborate mantelpieces for Back Bay families. In 1903, Lang moved westward and joined the American Seating Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, moving with the firm to Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1927. There Lang became well known as a prominent ecclesiastical woodcarver. In 1946 the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters presented him with a special award for his contribution to art in Michigan.
Lang’s carvings can be seen in the following churches in Michigan: Christ Church, Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills; National Shrine of the Little Flower, Royal Oak; Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Lansing; First (Park) Congregational Church, Grand Rapids; Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, Grosse Pointe; and Hope Church (Reformed Church in America), Holland.
Outside of Michigan, Lang’s work is represented at: Rockefeller Chapel and Wicker Park Lutheran Church, Chicago, Illinois; Christ Episcopal Church, Ottawa, Illinois; The Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Rockford, Illinois; Christ Episcopal Cathedral, Salina, Kansas; Christ Church, Boston, Massachusetts; Church of the Incarnation, Great Falls, Montana; and All Saints Church, Pasadena, California.
Tim Gleisner has been Head of Special Collections of the Library of Michigan for the last year. Before that he worked as Head of Special Collections at the Grand Rapids Public Library for 12 years. During that time Tim became acquainted with Alois Lang and the furniture industry in Grand Rapids and West Michigan. Tim’s talk will delve into how master artists like Lang helped to create an image for the furniture industry of Michigan. Discover how this master woodcarver not only changed the religious art here in Lansing, but in Michigan as a whole.