February 2006 Issue
Heart of Glass
Tiffany's stained-glass "Window with Landscape" and Egyptian Pyramids Framed by Temple Columns" watercolor are on view in Toledo, beginning Februray 4.
His delicate designs mirror a passion for color and nature that shimmers in his famous lamps and luminous stained-glass windows. From February 4 through April 30, the Toledo Museum of Art spotlights the work of "Louis Comfort Tiffany: Artist for the Ages." The exhibit encompasses 130 objects representing the breadth of Tiffany's talent, which ranged from art pottery to painting to furniture and jewelry, as well as his renowned glass creations.
"Quite simply, Tiffany was one of the great glassmasters of all time," says exhibit curator Marilynn A. Johnson. "His use of color and light have universal appeal."
Born in 1848 to the founders of New York's famous Tiffany & Company jewelry and fancy goods store, he became immersed in fine arts as a young man, studying with American landscapist George Inness. Although Tiffany was to remain a painter throughout his life, he turned his attention to the burgeoning field of decorative arts when he was in his 20s, employing English craftsmen, known for their attention to detail, to carry out his artistry, not only in glass but also in other elements of interior design.
Tiffany's travels abroad are reflected in such featured furnishings as an armchair decorated with florid motifs based on Mughal Indian forms; a Chinese desk set comprised of letter rack, inkstand and desk pad much like bronzes dating back to the Chou dynasty; wallpaper derived from an Arab-inspired pattern of snowflakes on gold ground; and a lotus pagoda library lamp resembling a pleated parasol.
"Tiffany was a master when it came to achieving harmony in interior design," says Toledo Museum of Art glass curator Jutta-Annette Page. "Every component works together to create the desired effect."