On this day 168 years ago the painter, craftsman and decorative art designer Louis Comfort Tiffany was born in New York City, son of the well-known American jeweller Charles Lewis Tiffany and of Harriet Olivia Avery Young. Tiffany began his career first as a painter before learning the craft of glass-making at several glasshouses in Brooklyn. In between he travelled widely (reflected in his paintings), exhibited his works and was inspired by other artists in Paris and elsewhere. With his father’s support he eventually opened his own glass factory at Corona in Queens – Louis C. Tiffany & Co., Associated Artists – and began improving the technique of glass-making. In 1881 he was commissioned to design the interior of the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut (now a Museum), and in 1882 newly elected President Chester Alan Arthur contracted him to redesign the state rooms of the White House. By the 1890s Tiffany was a leading glass producer, developing modern techniques in colouring and glass works.
His trademark nationally and internationally became the Favrile glass – handmade glass of unique quality and colouring. By 1900 Tiffany had expanded and reorganised into the Tiffany Studios, where artistic design and creations included lamps, jewellery, pottery, and bibelots. One of his major achievements was the enormous glass curtain in the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City) in 1911.
Through his many innovations and unique designs, Tiffany became a leading representative of the Art Nouveau movement – a precursor of modernism – mostly centred in Europe. In 1919 he founded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation for Art Students at his famous (and wholly self-designed) Long Island Estate Laurelton Hall. Louis Tiffany died on 17 January 1933.
More information about him can, for example, be found at:
- The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, also providing a chronology of L. C. Tiffany’s time and life.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York