Famous Glass Art: Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Career Began in New York

The facets of glass make beautiful artwork as the experts will know. One such glass artist who worked glass and other forms of artwork was Louis Comfort Tiffany. His life was potentially one of a rich sloth, yet he decided to improve on his birth in the lap of luxury as the son of a highly successful New York jeweler by carving his own notch in the belt of high end artisanship. Putting his mind in the annuls of art, he studied the greats while a young student in New York. Then, as all serious artists do, he took some time in the most artistic of cities, Paris, France.

Emile in Nancy

His early and important inspirational mentor was Émile Gallé, whom he met in Nancy, France. This man was a great glass artist. In the center of the Art Nouveau movement, Tiffany learned all he could about glass art. He also filled his imagination with his exposure to Japanese calligraphy and printing. Other art was attracting his mind as he marveled at Middle Eastern works and pots from Ancient Roman clay potteries. This period gave him a foundation from which his own artistic talents grew.

Once he arrived back home in America, Tiffany filled his art studio with brushes, oils and canvass to successfully become a much-sought after interior decorator. Although a side venture, this work really took off.

By the year 1875, his talents yielded his own named company called Louis Comfort Tiffany and Associated Artists where he had more than one hundred artisans who worked under his banner.

Founding the Foundry

From 1878 to 1933, Tiffany Studios in New York along with all his designers created wonderful stained glass artworks that were crafted in his glass foundry and studios. He was known to have developed ‘Favrile’ glass which has the quality of iridescence and antiquity. The effect was installed in the mixture step of various glass colors while they were hot.

The finished glass gives the mind a feeling of the ancients, perhaps from his keen interest in Roman and ancient Syrian glass that he observed while visiting an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum. There were several other glass media that Tiffany worked in and those were Opalescent glass which is a blend of colors within the glass. This process involved silver nitrate in the glass lamination step that offers a rainbow effect to the surface of the glass. Tiffany used this mode of staining glass as the foundation of most of his glass art.

Three-Dimensional Glass

Works from Tiffany also involved Steamer glass that is three-dimensional as it has been made with glass strings that are fused to the surface for images of branches, twigs, grass and other plants. The look of irregularity becomes art with the technique of fracture glass where a pieces of glass layers or wafers are fused on top of one another to create a textured surface that gives depth and perspective for foliage scenes. Ring Mottle and Ripple glass techniques were also used by Tiffany with great expertise in his company that can be considered one of the most highly respected in its class by the entire world.