This week we’ll be looking at decorative arts. Decorative arts are artworks that are meant to be used for a purpose as well as being beautiful
There are many different things that can be considered decorative art, such as ceramics, jewelry, metalware, furniture, and textiles.
Our artist of the week is Louis Comfort Tiffany, who was an American artist who worked in the decorative arts. He is most known for his glasswork.
Tiffany Jewelry Store in New York City
Louis Tiffany’s father was Charles Tiffany who founded New York City’s famous Tiffany & Co jewelry store. Louis Tiffany started out as a painter, but he became interested in glassmaking and opened his own glassmaking business in 1878.
In the early 1890s, Tiffany developed a special type of glass known for its iridescent, vibrant coloring. He called this glass “Favrile", and it helped make him a world leader in glass design.
Our artwork of the week is a stained glass window by Tiffany, View of Oyster Bay.
Click the photo below for a video showing Tiffany stained glass from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
View of Oyster Bay is a fine example of Louis Tiffany’s art of leaded glass. He designed many beautiful windows with his favrile glass. Even though the window was originally designed for a house on the island of Manhattan it has long been called View of Oyster Bay because the scene it pictures looks so much like the view from Tiffany’s own grand country estate called Laurelton Hall on Long Island, New York.
This screen with columns once served as the entrance to Tiffany’s amazing home. The exotic capitals on top of the columns feature flowers made of glazed ceramic and green glass for the stems. Glass tiles and mosaics decorate the arches.
The window shows calm, sun-dappled water and a beautiful sky framed by a trellis with wisteria vines.The heavy black lines of the metal not only serve to hold the window together but add to its design. It is one of the most popular art objects in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Autumn Landscape by Tiffany
Autumn Landscape is another window by Tiffany that is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This Tiffany window is in the Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago.
This is 1905 window at the Corning Museum of Glass is Hudson River Landscape.
YouTube video - Hudson River Landscape window (1:42 min.)
Tiffany daffodil lamp
A Tiffany lamp is a type of lamp with a glass shade designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his design studio. The most famous was the stained leaded glass lamp.
Tiffany Dragonfly lamp
Closeup of Tiffany dragonfly lamp
The first Tiffany lamp was created around 1895. Each lamp was handmade by skilled craftsmen, not mass- or machine-produced.
YouTube video - Dragonfly lamp by Tiffany and Driscoll(1:47 min.)
Many Tiffany lamps were designed by Clara Driscoll who was director of the Tiffany Studios’ Women’s Glass Cutting Department. She worked at Tiffany’s studios directing and designing lamps for more than 20 years.
Tiffany peacock lamp
Tiffany wisteria lamp
Tiffany lamps gained popularity after the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Tiffany’s presentation of lamps in a Byzantine chapel caught the eye of many people at that Exposition.
The term 'Tiffany lamp' or 'Tiffany style lamp' has been often used to refer to stained leaded glass lamp, many of which are not even made by Louis Comfort Tiffany's company.
YouTube video - Tiffany at the Morse Museum (6:50 min.)
Spring panel from the Four Seasons panels by Tiffany
Louis Tiffany was a leader in the Art Nouveau movement that was popular during 1890 - 1910. This style of art applied to all art forms but especially affected the decorative arts and also architecture.
It was inspired by forms in nature such as flowers and plants and sought to modernize design, getting away from more historical styles. Art Nouveau featured elegant designs that combined both natural, curving lines with geometric forms.
Zinnia lamp by Tiffany
Art Nouveau artists wanted to do away with the old viewpoint that fine arts such as painting and sculpture were superior as an art form to crafts or decorative arts.
YouTube video - Art Nouveau (5:08 min.)
Louis Tiffany designed and built a 84-room mansion on 600 acres on Long Island, NY in the Art Nouveau style. The home was called Laurelton Hall, and it housed many of Tiffany’s best works.
Laurelton Hall was a work of art in itself. It was furnished with stained-glass windows and lamps, vases, pottery, and furnishings set off by beautiful gardens and fountains.
Tiffany filled Laurelton Hall with decorative items he had collected from around the world along with his own art. In 1915 he established a small school for artists on the grounds, hosting a handful for several months at a time. Laurelton Hall was destroyed by a fire in 1957.
Jack-in-the-pulpit vase by Tiffany
Tiffany's produced many beautiful glass vases. The one in the center is a Jack-in-the-pulpit vase.
Besides stained glass, Louis Tiffany also created artworks in enamels, pottery, jewelry, metal work, and mosaics. This garden landscape mosaic by Tiffany is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Louis Tiffany also designed jewelry. His jewelry reflected nature and exotic cultures. This necklace was inspired by India and is made of black opals, diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires. This is a dragonfly brooch by Tiffany. The wings of this butterfly brooch are similar to his stained glass.
Tiffany designed a stained glass stage “curtain” for a theater in Mexico City’s Palace of Fine Arts. Nearly a million pieces of iridescent colored glass makes up the foldable panel which weighs 24 tons.
The curtain depicts a Mexican landscape with volcanoes and historic sculptures.
(Close-ups of the theater curtain.)
"Community Post: 15 Gorgeous And Unique Stained Glass Designs". BuzzFeed Community. N. p., 2016. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.
Tiffany also designed a some beautiful ceilings such as the ceiling for the Gran Hotel in Mexico City and the glass dome of the Chicago Cultural Center.
YouTube video - Louis Tiffany and his decorative arts (1:51 min.)
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