Tiffany Glass

Tiffany Glass from the
Tiffany GlassGlass Encyclopedia

Tiffany vase
above: vase by Louis
Comfort Tiffany

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Tiffany art glass

Tiffany Glass: A short explanation:

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was the creative genius son of a famous New York jeweller. His flamboyant sumptuous lifestyle and family connections with the artistic world in Europe and America, coupled with his talent and dedication, took him to a leading position in the Art Nouveau movement. Starting his career as a talented painter in the late 1860's, he travelled extensively overseas and at the age of 31 (in 1879) moved into interior design; from the mid-1880's onwards he moved more and more into specialising in glass.

Tiffany was greatly influenced by the glass he saw on his travels to Europe. Two major influences were the art nouveau glass being produced in France by Galle and in Austria by Loetz and others; and the ancient Roman and Egyptian glass which was being excavated from North Africa and the Middle East at that time.

Tiffany was also influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain, with their beliefs in a return to hand crafting and their aim to make art more widely available. Like others affected by this movement, he sought to combine his own artistic design talent with the hand-crafting skills of a production team of artisans supported by automated machinery. The outcome, as with his great contemporaries in Europe (notably Lalique and Galle) was a split output; on the one hand the master's own genius-creations and on the other hand a large amount of "industrial" items made to his designs. In Tiffany's case these included most of his lamps and many small glass vessels.

Today, of course, any piece of genuine Tiffany output is treasured and commands a relatively high price, and the museum-quality pieces reach astronomical figures at auction. Prices have been increasing steadily since the 1960's. Even at the time it was made, Tiffany glass was expensive and remained the prerogative of the very rich. Indeed, Tiffany himself took actions which kept the value of his glass pieces high. He donated examples of his work to all the major museums, and if one of his vases stayed too long on retailers' shelves, he recalled it.

Tiffany incorporated leaded glass features and glass tiles into his interior designs and developed special glass for this purpose, using the facilities at Heidt Glassworks in Brooklyn. He opened his own glass company in 1885 producing his glass tiles and the special glass for his great leaded windows and screens. Many of these depicted landscapes and scenes of flowers, trees, water and birds.

Tiffany designed beautiful lamps, typically having ornate art nouveau bronze bases and leaded glass shades with floral designs. These lamp shades were made by girls in a production workshop who were encouraged to use their own creativity in choosing and fitting together the glass mosaic pieces to produce the intended design. In this sense, every Tiffany lamp is unique and hand-crafted.

In 1892 he set up a glassworks at Corona, Long Island to make glass vessels in additiont to his decorative glasses. He encouraged Arthur Nash, from Webb's glassworks in England, to emigrate to the States and together they formed the "The Stourbridge Glass Company" glassworks on Long Island. His delicate, irridized, vases which have a magical metallic sheen in hues of gold or blue, were immensely popular.

Remember that there are several sources of reproduction Tiffany glass, especially the Tiffany glass lamps. These are very attractive but much cheaper than the originals.

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There are some beautiful books on Tiffany and his glass. Click on the book cover or title to read more about a book.

Tiffany Lamps Tiffany mosaics 2017 Tiffany Lamps 2016 Timeless Beauty: Tiffany Curating a Tiffany Collection 2015 Tiffany Masterpieces 2014 Tiffany 2011 Tiffany Art Glass 2013 Tiffany: Driehaus Collection 2013 Tiffany glass book Tiffany Lamps 2012 Louis C Tiffany by Koch 2007 Lost Treasures of Tiffany 2007 Tiffany glass Tiffany windows Glass book Tiffany book Tiffany glass book Tiffany lamps book

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