Tiffany Studios decorated favrile glass vase
Tiffany Studios decorated favrile glass vase yellow decorated with palm leaf design, engraved L.C.T. 7002A, painted museum accession number 219.60 c. 1906 10 inches tall
Replacement Value: $15,000
As the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, the legendary founder of the silver and jewelry firm, Tiffany and Co., Louis chose to pursue his love of art instead of following in the family business, gaining acclaim for his oils and watercolors in the 1860s and 1870s. In the 1880s, however, he turned his attention to interior design as “a way to provide good art for American homes.” His diverse career spanned 57 years.
As one of America’s most influential artists, designers and craftsmen of the century, Tiffany wanted to bring decorative arts to the same status as fine arts. The lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany signify this quest to bring beauty into the home. After collaborating to light the first movie theater, friend Thomas Edison suggested the idea of making electric fixtures. Tiffany soon began to create lamps as small versions of his exquisite stained-glass windows and developed the idea into a new art form. He first began experimenting with lamps in 1895 although they were not offered for sale in his showroom until 1899. Tiffany’s lamps, most of which were made between 1897 and 1920, were and still are recognized for their superior design and handcrafted details.
In addition to bringing beauty to the masses, Tiffany also made discoveries in the process for formulating glass. Tiffany developed a unique process that created bolder colors, opalescent sheens and a broader range of textures for artisans. He patented four types of glass over a period of two decades and worked with teams of craftsmen to manufacture stained-glass windows, lamps and lamp bases. He used the leading inherent in the design of his leaded glass lamps to add to the naturalistic forms, letting it represent, for example, the stems of plants.
The motifs in Tiffany’s elaborate lamps were inspired by his love of nature, and the names of his lamp designs are indicative as they include the dragonfly, dogwood, peacock, peony, daffodil, laburnum, wisteria, poppy, acorn, water lily, and more.