Collection Spotlight: Tiffany Glass

June 1–September 9, 2018

Louis Comfort Tiffany, who began his artistic career as a painter, devoted an increasing share of his time after 1880 to interior decoration and to the design and manufacture of art glass.

One of America’s most prolific and acclaimed artists, Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933) forged a career that spanned from the 1870s through the 1920s. He experimented with virtually every artistic and decorative medium, designing and directing his company, Tiffany Studios, to produce mosaics, leaded-glass windows, lighting, glass, pottery, metalwork, enamels, jewelry, and interiors. As the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812–1902), founder of Tiffany & Co., the renowned jewelry and silver firm, the artist made the decision to pursue his own creative interests rather than join the family business.

Here the Hudson River Museum presents a selection of blown glass by Tiffany Studios. The Museum holds a number of collection items related to Louis Comfort Tiffany, including Arab and Camel, 1873, a watercolor on view this season in Glenview, and several pieces of Favrile glass, on display here.

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Tiffany, who began his artistic career as a painter, devoted an increasing share of his time after 1880 to interior decoration and to the design and manufacture of art glass. His work with decorative schemes and stained-glass windows led him to open a glass foundry on Long Island. In 1892, he patented his trademarked term Favrile, derived from febrile, an Old English word meaning handcrafted. Tiffany urged his staff to experiment with shapes and colors. He wanted to reproduce the iridescence of his leaded window glass, but it took two years to find the best formula because blown glass has a different chemical makeup.

The Favrile glass at the Museum belonged to Duncan Gay, one of Tiffany’s numerous designers, and was donated by his descendants in 1995. Gay was particularly involved in the creation of stained glass windows but also worked with glass blowers.

The Hudson River Museum is pleased to present these works to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Brooklyn Flint Glass Company—now known as Corning Incorporated—relocating to Corning by canal barge. In celebration of this pivotal journey, the Corning Museum of Glass is recreating the voyage with GlassBarge, a 30 × 80 foot canal barge that will offer free public glassmaking demonstrations at scheduled stops during its four-month tour. Launched in May from Brooklyn, the barge will make 30 stops along the Hudson River, including the Yonkers pier (June 1–3), before travelling westward along the Erie Canal to the Finger Lakes.

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Tiffany Studios. Compote, 1921. Favrile glass. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Linville, 1995 (95.6.1).