Louis Comfort Tiffany
|Louis Comfort Tiffany|
February 18, 1848|
New York, New York
|Died||January 17, 1933
New York, New York
|Education||Pennsylvania Military Academy
Eagleswood Military Academy
|Known for||Favrile glass, Tiffany lamps|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Woodbridge Goddard (1872-1884; her death)
Louise Wakeman Knox (1886-1904; her death)
|Parents||Charles Lewis Tiffany
Harriet Olivia Avery Young
Louis Comfort Tiffany (February 18, 1848 – January 17, 1933) was an American artist and designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass. He is the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau  and Aesthetic movements. Tiffany was affiliated with a prestigious collaborative of designers known as the Associated Artists, which included Lockwood de Forest, Candace Wheeler, and Samuel Colman. Tiffany designed stained glass windows and lamps, glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels and metalwork.
Tiffany was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany and Company; and Harriet Olivia Avery Young. He attended school at Pennsylvania Military Academy in Chester, Pennsylvania, and Eagleswood Military Academy in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. His first artistic training was as a painter, studying under George Inness and Samuel Colman at the National Academy of Design in New York City in 1866-67 and Léon Bailly in Paris in 1868-69.
Tiffany started out as a painter, but became interested in glassmaking from about 1875 and worked at several glasshouses in Brooklyn between then and 1878. In 1879, he joined with Candace Wheeler, Samuel Colman and Lockwood de Forest to form Louis Comfort Tiffany and Associated American Artists. Tiffany's leadership and talent, as well as his father's money and connections, led this business to thrive.
In 1881 Tiffany did the interior design of the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, which still remains, but the new firm's most notable work came in 1882 when President Chester Alan Arthur refused to move into the White House until it had been redecorated. He commissioned Tiffany, who had begun to make a name for himself in New York society for the firm's interior design work, to redo the state rooms, which Arthur found charmless. Tiffany worked on the East Room, the Blue Room, the Red Room, the State Dining Room and the Entrance Hall, refurnishing, repainting in decorative patterns, installing newly designed mantelpieces, changing to wallpaper with dense patterns and, of course, adding Tiffany glass to gaslight fixtures, windows and adding an opalescent floor-to-ceiling glass screen in the Entrance Hall. The Tiffany screen and other Victorian additions were all removed in the Roosevelt renovations of 1902, which restored the White House interiors to Federal style in keeping with its architecture.
A desire to concentrate on art in glass led to the breakup of the firm in 1885 when Tiffany chose to establish his own glassmaking firm that same year. The first Tiffany Glass Company was incorporated December 1, 1885 and in 1902 became known as the Tiffany Studios.
In the beginning of his career, Tiffany used cheap jelly jars and bottles because they had the mineral impurities that finer glass lacked. When he was unable to convince fine glassmakers to leave the impurities in, he began making his own glass. Tiffany used opalescent glass in a variety of colors and textures to create a unique style of stained glass. This can be contrasted with the method of painting in enamels or glass paint on colorless glass that had been the dominant method of creating stained glass for hundred of years in Europe. (The First Presbyterian Church building of 1905 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is unique in that it uses Tiffany windows that partially make use of painted glass.) Use of the colored glass itself to create stained glass pictures was motivated by the ideals of the Arts and Crafts movement and its leader William Morris in England. Fellow artists and glassmakers Oliver Kimberly and Frank Duffner, founders of the Duffner and Kimberly Company and John La Farge were Tiffany's chief competitors in this new American style of stained glass. Tiffany, Duffner and Kimberly, along with La Farge, had learned their craft at the same glasshouses in Brooklyn in the late 1870s.
In 1893, Tiffany built a new factory called the Stourbridge Glass Company, later called Tiffany Glass Furnaces, which was located in Corona, Queens, New York, hiring the Englishman Arthur J. Nash to oversee it. In 1893, his company also introduced the term Favrile in conjunction with his first production of blown glass at his new glass factory. Some early examples of his lamps were exhibited in the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. At the Exposition Universelle (1900) in Paris, he won a gold medal with his stained glass windows The Four Seasons
He trademarked Favrile (from the old French word for handmade) on November 13, 1894. He later used this word to apply to all of his glass, enamel and pottery. Tiffany's first commercially produced lamps date from around 1895. Much of his company's production was in making stained glass windows and Tiffany lamps, but his company designed a complete range of interior decorations. At its peak, his factory employed more than 300 artisans. Recent scholarship led by Rutgers professor Martin Eidelberg suggests that a team of talented single women designers led by Clara Driscoll played a big role in designing many of the floral patterns on the famous Tiffany lamp as well as for other creations.
Tiffany used all his skills in the design of his own house, the 84-room Laurelton Hall, in the village of Laurel Hollow, on Long Island, New York completed in 1905. Later this estate was donated to his foundation for art students along with 60 acres (243,000 m²) of land, sold in 1949, and destroyed by a fire in 1957.
Louis married Mary Woodbridge Goddard (c1850-1884) on May 15, 1872 in Norwich, Connecticut and had the following children:
- Mary Woodbridge Tiffany (1873–1963) who married Graham Lusk;
- Charles Louis Tiffany I (1874-1874);
- Charles Louis Tiffany II (1878–1947); and
- Hilda Goddard Tiffany (1879–1908), the youngest.
After the death of his wife, he married Louise Wakeman Knox (1851–1904) on November 9, 1886. They had the following children:
- Louise Comfort Tiffany (1887–1974), who married Rodman Drake DeKay Gilder;
- Julia DeForest Tiffany (1887–1973), who married Gurdon S. Parker then married Francis Minot Weld;
- Annie Olivia Tiffany (1888–1892); and
- Dorothy Trimble Tiffany (1891–1979), who, as Dorothy Burlingham, later became a noted psychoanalyst and lifelong friend and partner of Anna Freud.
- American Watercolor Society
- Architectural League
- Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1900
- Imperial Society of Fine Arts (Tokyo)
- National Academy of Design in 1880
- New York Society of Fine Arts
- Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts (Paris)
- Society of American Artists in 1877
Awards and honors
- 1893: 44 medals, World Columbian Exposition (Chicago)
- 1900: gold medal, Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (France)
- 1900: grand prix, Paris Exposition
- 1901: grand prix, St. Petersburg Exposition
- 1901: gold medal, Buffalo Exposition
- 1901: gold medal, Dresden Exposition
- 1902: gold medal and special diploma, Turin Exposition
- 1904: gold medal, Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis
- 1907: gold medal, Jamestown Exposition
- 1909: grand prize, Seattle Exposition
- 1915: gold medal, Panama Exposition
- 1926: gold medal, Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Exposition
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida houses the world's most comprehensive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, including Tiffany jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass windows, lamps, and the Tiffany Chapel he designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. After the close of the exposition, a benefactor purchased the entire chapel for installation in the crypt of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York in New York City. As construction on the cathedral continued, the chapel fell into disuse, and in 1916, Tiffany removed the bulk of it to Laurelton Hall. After the 1957 fire, the chapel was rescued by Hugh McKean, a former art student in 1930 at Laurelton Hall, and his wife Jeannette Genius McKean, and now occupies an entire wing of the Morse Museum which they founded. Many glass panels from Laurelton Hall are also there; for many years some were on display in local restaurants and businesses in Central Florida. Some were replaced by full-scale color transparencies after the museum opened.
A major exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art on Laurelton Hall opened in November 2006. An exhibit at the New-York Historical Society in 2007 featured new information about the women who worked for Tiffany and their contribution to designs credited to Tiffany. In addition, since 1995 the Queens Museum of Art has featured a permanent collection of Tiffany objects, which continues Tiffany’s presence in Corona, Queens where the company's studios were once located. Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Indiana has a collection of 62 Tiffany windows which are still their original placements, but the church is deteriorating and is jeopardy.
Significant collections of Tiffany windows outside the United States are the 17 windows in the former Erskine and American United Church, now part of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Canada, and the two windows in the American Church in Paris, on the Quai d'Orsay, which have been classified as National Monuments by the French government; these were commissioned by Rodman Wanamaker in 1901 for the original American Church building on the right bank of the Seine.
The Haworth Art Gallery in Accrington, England contains a collection of over 140 examples of the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany, including vases, tiles, lamps and mosaics. The collection, which claims to be the largest collection of publicly owned Tiffany glass outside of the United States, contains a fine example of an Aquamarine vase and the noted Sulphur Crested Cockatoos mosaic.
Nicodemus Came to Him by Night, First Presbyterian Church, Lockport, NY
Pastoral window at Second Presbyterian Church (Chicago, Illinois)
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- Hugh McKean
- Jeannette Genius McKean
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Louis Comfort Tiffany.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Louis Comfort Tiffany|
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Tiffany, Louis Comfort". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- Tiffany Digital Collection from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries
- Tiffany Treasures: Favrile Glass from Special Collections. Information on the 2009-2010 exhibition at The Corning Museum of Glass.
- Louis Comfort Tiffany - Artist and Businessman
- Louis Comfort Tiffany at Find a Grave
- Louis Comfort Tiffany objects in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
- Louis Comfort Tiffany Pictorial Histories
- Press Release on Metropolitan 2006-07 exhibition about Laurelton Hall
- Tiffany and The Associated Artists' work on the Mark Twain House
- When Louis Tiffany Redesigned the White House
- Tiffany Lamps - Information, Valuation and History.
- Willard Memorial Chapel
- Virtual visit of Tiffany Glass exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2010).
- Tiffany windows at Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Indiana.
- Ayer Mansion, Back Bay, Boston (now Bayridge Residence and Cultural Center)