Thursday, December 10
Louis Comfort Tiffany
Louis Comfort born 1848 to Charles Lewis Tiffany. He grew up in his father's jewelry business. Tiffany founded his own firm in 1885 and focused on art glass. Earlier, Louis had already registered for a patent on a new glassmaking technique of combining different colors in opalescent glass to create vibrant, multidimensional hues of color never before seen in glass. This challenged the traditional approach of painting on glass to create multicolored effects. Tiffany became an enthusiastic supporter of the European Art Nouveau movement, challenging the current Victorian ornate style. Art Nouveau used free-flowing designs based on nature that exemplified the characteristics prevalent in Tiffany's earlier creations as a landscape painter. The use of light, color and nature assumed greater significance in Tiffany's work as he developed his unique approach to Art Nouveau. Tiffany's work was displayed in Europe at the most important venue for the introduction of Art Nouveau, Siegfried Bing's L'Art Nouveau.
In an effort to reach the interiors of a greater population, Tiffany began to design lamps to allow more people to enjoy art and beauty in their own home. Colored glass, Tiffany's lasting love and challenge, found fresh scope and inspiration. While the windows served to transmit the light of day, the lamps represent a new source of illumination independent of daylight. Fabrication of the lamps began in 1885, with the majority of them being made between 1895 and 1920. It was not until 1899 that Tiffany publicly introduced the lamps for sale.
Tiffany is best known for his designs of glass vessels, lamps and windows, but he also created items in various other media including metalwork, furniture, jewelry and ceramics, introducing enamels in 1898, art pottery in 1900, and jewelry in 1904. He established a metalwork department, producing lamps, desk sets, and chandeliers that were sold through his New York showroom, company catalogues and department stores. He designed most anything having to do with interior design, including even textiles and wall coverings. His remarkable career spanned over five decades, including his tenure with L.C. Tiffany & Associated Artists, the Tiffany Glass Company, Tiffany Studios, Tiffany Furnaces and the L.C. Tiffany Furnaces.
By Tiffany's death on February 18, 1933, the popularity of his elaborate lamps declined with the rise of Art Moderne and Expressionism. For two decades the designs of Louis Comfort Tiffany were forgotten. It was not until the first Tiffany retrospective show in 1958 that his objects were rediscovered by museums and collectors. Awareness of Tiffany's craftsmanship escalated with an Art Nouveau show in 1960 at the Museum of Modern Art. Today the designs of Louis Comfort Tiffany are honored and treasured around the world, confirming Tiffany's legacy as a visionary of Art Nouveau design and most anything with the magical Tiffany name fetches enormous sums of money.