Tabulous Tastemaker: Louis Comfort Tiffany

February 18, 2015

By Tab Byrum

If there is one word or name that implies beauty and luxury it has to be Tiffany, in the 21st Century most people associate Tiffany with jewelry and the 5th Avenue store in New York City, but it’s origins begin in the 19th Century with a man named Louis Comfort Tiffany. Tiffany was born on this day 167 years ago in 1848 in New York City and lived to be 84 years old, dying in 1933.  Tiffany is most associated with Art Nouveau period of art and worked in several different mediums, including glass, jewelry, ceramics, metalwork and enamels.

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Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1848 – 1933

Tiffany started out as a painter but became interested in glass around 1875, he worked in different glass houses of the time then teamed up with other artists in 1879 to form the Louis Comfort Tiffany and American Associated Artists group, under Louis’ leadership and with his father’s financial backing the business thrived.

In the early 1880’s Tiffany received two commissions that garnered him a lot of attentions, he did the interiors of Mark Twain’s new home in Hartford, Connecticut then in 1882 he was commissioned to redecorate interior portions of the White House after President Arthur refused to move into the Executive Mansion until it was redecorated.

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Tiffany Inkstand, 1907

 

Tiffany’s desire to only work in glass led to the break up of the design firm in 1885, this is the same year that Tiffany Glass was started and in 1902 it became Tiffany Studios. Today we know Louis Comfort Tiffany for his glasswork and more specifically his lamps, with the first commercially produced lamps dating back to 1895.

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A Tiffany Floral Stained Glass Lamp.

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A Tiffany Dragonfly lamp. 

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 A young Louis Comfort Tiffany. 

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The Tiffany mansion in NYC, around 1886. 

Tiffany also used his glassmaking skill to create amazing windows which can still be seen in different buildings and churches around the world.

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Landscape Window

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Autumn Landscape Glass, 1923 – 1924.

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River of Life window, early 20th Century.

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One of the Four Season Window panels displayed at the Great Exhibition in Paris, 1900.

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Tiffany’s “Mermaid” window, Chicago. 

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The Annunciation, 1898

At it’s peak, Tiffany’s factory employed some 300 people, and by the late 1890’s the mosaics workshop employed mostly women and was producing amazing products.

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Mosaic panel designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

In 1902 Louis Comfort Tiffany became the first Design Director for Tiffany and Co., the jewelry company founded by his father. 

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A Tiffany designed necklace from around 1900. 

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Queen Anne’s Lace jeweled hair ornament, 1904.

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An Art Nouveau necklace by Tiffany, sometime between 1914 and 1927.

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Moonstone, diamond and sapphire necklace by Tiffany, 1915. 

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Tiffany and Co. diamond and moonstone bracelet, 1915. 

You can still find Tiffany inspired stained glass lamps for sale and of course visit the Tiffany and Co. store in New York City.  Here’s to Louis Comfort Tiffany, a true Tabulous Tastemaker and Artist. 

 

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A Tiffany electric chandelier from the early 20th Century. 

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Louis Comfort Tiffany Vase, 1900.

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A Tiffany vase, 1897.

All images are courtesy of Pinterest.

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