Louis Comfort Tiffany [1848 – 1933]

Louis Comfort Tiffany
[1848 – 1933]
Autumn Landscape
The River of Life
c. 1923 - 1924
• 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);
• 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.
• Many of Tiffany's descendants are active in the arts, politics, and the
sciences. Only one descendant is working in glass today — Dr.
Rodman Gilder Miller of Seattle, Washington.
• Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of the founder
of the New York City jewelry store that still
bears the family name, took no interest in
his father’s business.
• Instead, he trained as a painter in Paris, and upon
returning to New York decided to channel his talents into
the decorative arts.
• He 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 by his father's
money and connections, led this business to thrive.
“I believe there is more in it than in painting
pictures,” he declared.
• As 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
Art Nouveau “New Art”
1890 - 1905
• A reaction to academic art of the 19th
century, it is characterized by organic,
especially floral and other plant-inspired
motifs, as well as highly stylized, flowing
curvilinear forms.
• Art Nouveau is an approach to design
according to which artists should work on
everything from architecture to furniture,
making art part of everyday life
• In 1881 Tiffany did the interior design of the Mark Twain
House in Hartford, Connecticut, which still remains,
• 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
• 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 the
opalescent floor to ceiling glass screen in the Entrance
The Entrance Hall of the White House in 1882, showing the
newly installed Tiffany glass screens.
• 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
• By the 1890s, Tiffany was exploring the
possibilities of colored glass, a medium
that had remained virtually unchanged
since the Middle Ages.
• In the late nineteenth century, it was
experiencing a revival, owing to the large
number of churches under construction in
prospering American cities.
• Tiffany used cheap jelly jars and bottles because
they had the mineral impurities that finer glass
• 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
• 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.
• 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
Favrile Glass
• Favrile glass is a type of iridescent art
glass designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
• It was patented in 1894 and first produced
in 1896.
• It differs from most iridescent glasses
because the color is ingrained in the glass
itself, as well as having distinctive coloring.
• Favrile glass was used in Tiffany's stainedglass windows.
Favrile Glass (Handmade)
Tiffany Designed
Stained glass windows
Glass mosaics
Blown glass
Sermon on the
Mount at Arlington
Street Church
in Boston
Nicodemus Came to
Him by Night, First
Presbyterian Church,
Lockport, NY
The Baptism
of Christ,
at Brown Memorial
The Annunciation
to the Shepherds,
at Brown Memorial
Tree of Life
Girl with
Cherry Blossoms
• Gradually, stained glass made its way into
secular settings, with biblical subjects
giving way to naturalistic motifs and
woodland themes.
• These luminous windows worked like
landscape paintings to introduce a sense
of natural beauty into an urban home.
• Their dense designs had the added
advantage of blocking views of dirty
streets and back alleys that an ordinary
window might reveal.
Autumn Landscape
• was commissioned by real estate magnate
Loren Delbert Towle for his Gothic Revival
mansion in Boston.
• The estate's construction began in 1920 as a 35room, with formal gardens, terraces, tennis
courts, and garage.
• Towle died in 1924 before the mansion was
• In December 1925 it became home to the
Newton Country Day School, and in 1990 was
added to the National Register of Historic
• The window was meant to light the landing
of a grand staircase, and, by presenting a
landscape view that receded into the
distance, it would offer the illusion of
extending a necessarily confined space.
• But even in domestic interiors, stained
glass never entirely lost its religious
• Tiffany divided this composition into lancet
windows reminiscent of a medieval
• In keeping with the American landscape
tradition, the theme of Autumn
Landscape—The River of Life also invites
a spiritual interpretation.
• Tiffany generally reserved the traditional
subject, in which a mountain stream flows
through the rocks and cascades into a
placid foreground pool, for memorial
windows in churches and mausoleums;
• Here, the season enhances the symbolism
of a lifetime winding to a close, with the
sun sinking low on a late autumn
• As it happened, the window did become a
memorial of sorts, for the Boston client
died before it could be installed in his
• Autumn Landscape was subsequently sold
to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where,
fortunately it was taken from its intended
setting of a private interior for the
privileged few, it became a work of art
available to the public.
• Tiffany’s ambition was to use glass to
create the effect of oil or watercolor
painting, without resorting to the
application of enameled decoration.
• To this end, he developed new techniques
for producing and manipulating colored
• He eventually achieved a range of visual
and tactile effects that would have been
impossible with paint alone.
Autumn Landscape
• Was one of Tiffany’s later productions,
• It makes use of nearly every method in Tiffany’s
extensive repertoire:
• Mottled glass for the dusky sky;
• Confetti glass (with thin flakes of colored glass
embedded in the surface) for the shifting colors
of the autumn foliage;
• Marbleized glass for the boulders;
• Rippled glass for the foreground pool.
Confetti Glass
• Confetti glass (with thin flakes of colored
embedded in the surface) for the shifting
colors of the autumn foliage;
• Marbleized glass for the boulders
• Rippled glass for the foreground pool.
• To deepen the color and enhance the
depth of the distant mountains, Tiffany
applied layers of glass to the back of the
window, a technique called “plating.”
• But as he would have been aware, the full
effect of the window depended on the
intensity of the natural light that shone
through it to magically alter the landscape
throughout the day and the year.
On which side of a house—north, south,
east, or west—might you want to install
this window, and why?
• The south side would receive light all
• the west side, in the afternoon and
• the east, in the morning; and
• the north side would never receive direct
• As a window that resembles an
elaborately framed easel painting, Autumn
Landscape fulfills the aesthetic
movement’s mission of introducing art into
daily life.
• Tiffany concerned himself with the entire
range of a room’s decorative effects,
weaving them into a single, harmonious
• He found countless ways to give his art a
practical purpose,
• Designing everything from books to
• In any medium, Tiffany said, his primary
consideration had always been simply “the
pursuit of beauty.”
• What do you see first in this window?
• Why is your attention drawn to this area?
• You will probably see the sun in the center.
• It is the lightest part of the window and
contains the strongest contrast of light and
• What time of the day is depicted?
• Why will this art look different at different
times of the day?
• Because the sun is near the horizon, it is
early morning or late afternoon.
• The light shining through it will be different
depending on how high or low the sun is in
the sky and whether it is a bright or
overcast day.
Essay Question 1
• Stained-glass windows are commonly
seen in churches, but this window was
created for a stairwell in a man’s private
• Why would someone rather have a
stained-glass window in a house than
clear glass?
Essay Question 2
• How would this landscape make the space
of a small stairwell feel larger?
Essay Question 3
• Because the man who commissioned this
window died before it was installed, it
seemed like a memorial for him.
• Why are autumn scenes and sunsets
often featured in memorials to the
Describe the mood of this scene.
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