Louis Comfort Tiffany 1848 - 1933
Louis Comfort Tiffany began his career as a painter in the 1860s studying under landscape painter George Inness, Tiffany's combined use of light, color and nature in his work received him praise for his oils and watercolors, which included scenes from his travels.
Tiffany’s travels acquainted him with the designs of medieval and Roman glass. Working in Glass offered Tiffany a new field of challenge which would lead him to his endeavor in design and decorative arts as an interior designer. Tiffany's commissions for Mark Twain, Cornelius Vanderbilt and the White House earned him an international reputation. Stained glass windows were a feature in these interiors.
Tiffany's passion was for the European Art Nouveau movement, challenging the current Victorian ornate style. Art Nouveau used free flowing designs based on nature 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.
To expand his creativity Tiffany began to design lamps. This allowed more people to enjoy art and beauty in their own home. 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.
Tiffany is best known for his designs of stained glass lamps and windows, but he also created metalwork, furniture, jewelry and ceramics. His career spanned 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 in 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 1950's 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.
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