Cleveland (October 17, 2019) – Focusing on Louis Comfort Tiffany’s passion for stained glass as a way to bring Nature’s color into the home, Tiffany in Bloom: Stained Glass Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany explores Tiffany’s vivid designs in relation to emerging artistic and craft movements at the turn of the 20th century. This dynamic, illuminated display of the designer’s finest stained glass table and floor lamps also features the iconic stained glass window made in about 1900 for the Howell Hinds House in Cleveland Heights. Tiffany in Bloom introduces visitors to the spectacular work created with thousands of shards of glass and the power of electric light. Period photographs and accounts of his artisans also provide a glimpse into Tiffany’s shop and studio. Most of the works on view in Tiffany in Bloom have recently joined the museum’s collection through the generous bequest of Cleveland entrepreneur Charles Maurer. This collection is on view for the first time in its entirety at the museum. Tiffany in Bloom: Stained Glass Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany runs from October 20, 2019, to June 14, 2020, in the Julia and Larry Pollock Focus Gallery.
“We are excited to honor and celebrate Charles Maurer’s extraordinary gift by presenting Tiffany in Bloom,” said William Griswold, director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. “He was a passionate and devoted collector of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany.”
Tiffany’s unparalleled standard of quality and his love for the infinite possibilities of texture and color in manipulating light reveal an artistic sensibility that guided his designers. Together, they re-created the qualities of natural light using the light and dark tonal effects of glass when illuminated with electric lamps. Tiffany’s fascination with exotic plants resulted in works of breathtaking colors, from deep reds, blues, greens and yellows to soft pale whites, pinks and creams. Tiffany in Bloom: Stained Glass Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany features some of the artist’s rare masterworks including the Wisteria, Peacock, Bamboo and Peony lamps.
“We now know that most of the floral lamps were actually designed by Ohio native Clara Wolcott Driscoll, who rose to prominence as head of the Women’s Glass Cutting Department in Tiffany’s studio,” explained Stephen Harrison, curator of decorative art and design. “Driscoll transformed the vibrant colors and seductive blooms of plant life into shimmering lamp designs that won Tiffany international acclaim.”
Thematic groups within this exhibition focus on the artistic styles and movements that inspired Tiffany. From Asian to the Art Nouveau, they establish reference points for understanding the tastes of the early 1900s.
Floral Table Lamps
In the 1870s a renewed emphasis on natural landscapes ushered in a generation of cottage gardeners who delighted in planting perennials in large quantities. Tiffany encouraged his designers to take inspiration from his garden by shipping fresh cuttings almost weekly to his studios. Ohio native Clara Wolcott Driscoll created patterns based on the colorful blooms of spring, such as those for the Peony and Daffodil lamps, that became among the most successful of Tiffany’s production.
By 1900 Tiffany had expanded his empire by increasing the firm’s production of “fancy goods,” including inkstands, candlesticks, clocks, small boxes, desk sets and other functional objects. These smaller, more affordable luxury items were just as carefully designed as the great stained glass windows and lamps through which the firm enjoyed unrivaled success.
When Louis Comfort Tiffany began collaborating with glass artists on new types of production, his ambitions were finally realized in the development of Favrile glass, a term loosely meaning handmade. Largely through his marketing ability, Tiffany’s Favrile glass became America’s greatest contribution to the Art Nouveau style. From the outset, Tiffany used Favrile glass in mosaic panels, stained glass windows and his expressive line of table and floor lamps.
Tuesday, October 29, 11 a.m.
Join a CMA volunteer docent for a free tour of Tiffany in Bloom: Stained Glass Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Meet at the information desk in the Ames Family Atrium. No reservation required.
Friday, November 8, 6 p.m.
Curator Stephen Harrison leads a tour through the exhibition, which focuses on Louis Comfort Tiffany’s passion for stained glass as a way to bring Nature’s splendid color into the home.
Explore Digital 3-D Models of Two Lamps in the Exhibition
Julia and Larry Pollock Focus Gallery
Explore digital 3-D models of two lamps on view in Tiffany in Bloom. Visitors can activate animations to watch the Peacock Table Lamp transition from gas to electric light or see the Peony Lamp on a Bamboo Base rotate its shade from a daytime to nighttime version. Visitors can also explore these models off-site on the CMA’s newly redesigned Collection Online.
Film: THE WORLD OF LOUIS COMFORT TIFFANY
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché Sun/Jan 19, 1:30. Directed by Pamela B. Green. Narrated by Jodie Foster. This meticulously researched, eye-opening documentary resurrects forgotten French-American film pioneer Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968), history’s first female film director and perhaps the first moviemaker of any sex to direct a narrative film. Guy-Blaché experimented with color, synchronized sound, special effects, and minority casting during her groundbreaking career. (USA, 2018, color/b&w, Blu-ray, 103 min.) The film will show in Morley Lecture Hall. Admission $10; CMA members $7.
Gallery Talk: Tiffany in Bloom
Tue, Jan 28, 12:00, Julia and Larry Pollock Focus Gallery (010).
Join Andrew Cappetta, manager of collection and exhibition programs, on a tour of this exhibition focusing on Louis Comfort Tiffany’s inspiration from nature and the role women artists played in his studio. Free; ticket required. Space is limited.
Art in Context: Clara Driscoll and the Women of Tiffany Studios
Sat, Feb 29, 2:00, Morley Lecture Hall.
Renée Sentilles, professor of history at Case Western Reserve University, and Mark Bassett, instructor at the Cleveland Institute of Art, join curator Stephen Harrison for a lively conversation about the role of women artists in Tiffany Studios, including Ohio native Clara Driscoll, in the context of the struggle for women’s suffrage in the early 20th century. Free; ticket required.
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