Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Museum of Art



Steve Christensen

LUMA Greets Holiday Season with Exhibition of Christmas Cards

On Display in the Harlan J. Berk Ltd. Works on Paper Gallery through January 13, 2013

CHICAGO, November 14, 2012 – The Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) presents an exhibition of Christmas cards designed and hand-made by Melville P. Steinfels and Margaret Hollahan Steinfels over the course of 60 years. Christmas Greetings: The Graphic Design of Melville P. Steinfels and Margaret Hollahan Steinfels will be on view in the Harlan J. Berk Ltd. Works on Paper Gallery at LUMA from November 20 through January 13, 2013.

From 1926 until the late 1980s, Melville and Margaret Steinfels designed and made their own Christmas cards to send to their family and friends. The cards, reflecting Melville’s religious devotion, feature images of the Holy Family, rejoicing angels, and the three Magi. In addition to their own cards, Melville and Margaret also created an annual Christmas card for Margaret’s parents, the Hollahans. These cards creatively depict new additions to the Hollahan family over the years. Although Melville’s name is better known as a muralist, Margaret was also an artist and teacher. While Melville favored a more detailed, intricate style, Margaret’s drawings and sketches were much less controlled and more impressionistic.

Melville spent his childhood in California but considered himself to be a Chicagoan. Melville had a long and creative history with Loyola University Chicago, having designed the Stations of the Cross and a magnificent fresco in the apse of Madonna della Strada Chapel on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus in 1945. He executed numerous other mural and mosaic commissions for Loyola, as well as other private and public commissions in the midwest. Melville and Margaret both attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. According to his son, Peter Steinfels, a former New York Times writer, his father’s main goal was to “make the imagery and architecture of Roman Catholic churches convey the full meaning of Catholic worship and encourage knowledgeable participation by the whole congregation.”

The exhibition at LUMA demonstrates how Melville and Margaret combined their artistic styles and religious imagery into cohesive designs for delightful and joyous cards for more than 60 years. Original printing blocks will be included in the exhibition to illustrate the print-making process.  

Public Programming

All events take place at LUMA, 820 N. Michigan Avenue.

Opening Reception

Thursday, November 29, 5:30–7 p.m.

Join us to celebrate the opening of Christmas Greetings: The Graphic Design of Melville P. Steinfels and Margaret Hollahan Steinfels and LUMA’s other winter exhibitions. Admission is $15 and free for LUMA members.

Walk-thru of Christmas Greetings

Saturday, December 1, 12:15 p.m.

Meet Peter Steinfels, son of Melville and Margaret, who will reminisce about his talented parents and the hand-made Christmas cards that are personal expressions celebrating both family and faith.

Image Credit: Melville P. and Margaret H. Steinfels Papers (detail), 1938

About LUMA
Opened in 2005, the Loyola University Museum of Art is dedicated to exploring, promoting, and understanding art and artistic expression that illuminates the enduring spiritual questions of all cultures and societies. As a museum with an interest in education and educational programming, LUMA reflects the University’s Jesuit mission and is dedicated to helping people of all creeds explore the roots of their faith and spiritual quests. Located at Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, the museum occupies the first three floors of the University’s historic Lewis Towers on Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue. For more information, visit the museum’s website at LUC.edu/luma.

Art illuminating the spirit!