He loved the glass for its imperfections, irregular shapes and the way the light can play with it. He opened a new door to the world of art which led into another unexplored corner.
Louis Comfort Tiffany (*18. 2. 1848 – †17. 1. 1933, New York)
The artist, designer, the main representative of Art Nouveau glass industry.
Louis Comfort Tiffany was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of the world famous company Tiffany & Co. and Harriet Olivia Avery Young. He graduated from the Military Academy in Pennsylvania and New Jersey but he wanted to become an artist. Thus, he continued his studies with private tutors in New Jersey and in New York, later at the National Academy of Design in New York and Europe. He started his career as a painter, working under the influence of artists such as George Innes and Samuel Colman. Thanks to his family he was also able to expand his education and insight in Europe, North America and North Africa.
Tiffany focused his intention to the interior decorating at the end of 70s of the 19th century. Together with his business partner Mr. Colman designed furniture and interior design mansions of higher society in New York. One of the most prestigious realizations also included the house of Mark Twain in Hartford, Connecticut (1881). But he gained his fame through the interiors headquarters of US President Chester Arthur Allan (1882), who had refused to move to the White House until the place gained more representative character. That was a task for Tiffany. Thanks to the contract he became famous throughout American society.
Tiffany’s admiration for the glass led him to establish his own company Tiffany Glass Company. It happened on December 1st, 1885. But in 1902 it was known as the Tiffany Studios. A few years later, in 1893, he opened his own glass factory Stourbridge Glass Company in Queens, later called Glass Fournances. An experienced glassmaker Mr. Arthur J. Nash from England helped him to oversee the operation of the factory. With his help Tiffany managed to produce glass in different structure, density and color. He managed to create his own individual design which caused a revolution in the industry.
Tiffany’s focus on interior decorating continued to grow. In 1898 he focused on the lightning. Tiffany thus became the first commercial manufacturer of lamps, which quickly became popular. This happened thanks to the fact that Tiffany’s craftsmen, who had a variety of patterns and a wide range of glasses for production of lamp shades available, were able to add to every light made by their hands a distinctive and unique look.
Another logical achievement of Tiffany’s work was the production of glass mosaics, which were also used for interior decorating. Tiffany found an inspiration in Byzantine churches which he visited during his travels around Europe. Unlike other producers he didn’t use traditional flat squares but he improved the technology. He cut the glass into irregular shapes in order to obtain a true quality of the created motive.
After his father’s death in 1902, Louis Tiffany became design director at Tiffany & Co. Their skills and knowledge in design therefore used not only at work but also the decoration of your house with 65 rooms in Larurelton Hall 84 on Long Island in New York. Art Nouveau villa, which was completed in 1905, was built in the symbiosis of nature and Islamic motifs and became itself a work of art.
This house including neighbouring land of an area 243 thousand m2 was later dedicated to foundation which supported students of Art established by Tiffany in 1918. After his death the property ran to seed so in 1949 the Foundation sold it. Eight years later the house was destroyed by fire.
However the windows and other parts of the collection managed to be partly saved. So we can see Tiffany’s most famous and notable works for example in the metropolitan Museum of Art in New York or in the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Florida.