A celebration of beauty, Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection features more than 60 objects, spanning over 30 years of Tiffany’s prolific career. One of America’s most renowned artists, Louis Comfort Tiffany worked in nearly all the media available to artists and designers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—glass, ceramic, metalwork, jewelry and painting. Tiffany’s technical brilliance in a wide variety of media enabled him to convey his awe of the natural world through a range of objects, from common household items to one-of-a-kind masterpieces. He earned international acclaim for his artistic output, receiving prestigious awards in exhibitions across Europe and the United States. His work was enthusiastically collected by art museums and private collectors throughout his lifetime, and continues to be highly sought after today. This exhibition, focusing on Tiffany’s magnificent stained-glass windows, floral vases, lamps, and accessories, revels in the artistry and craftsmanship of the Tiffany artworks from Chicago’s distinguished Richard H. Driehaus Collection, highlighting masterworks never before presented in a comprehensive exhibition.
Louis Comfort Tiffany
Louis Comfort Tiffany was born in New York City on February 18, 1848, and began his career as a painter, studying at the National Academy of Design in New York City. He expanded his repertoire through his work as an interior designer, and began working at a glassworks in Brooklyn, where he developed some of his signature methods of making glass and experimented with new glass forms and techniques. In 1894, he patented the poetic term “Favrile,” from the Latin word fabrilis, meaning handmade, to describe the iridescent blown art glass he began producing. In late 1897, Tiffany built his own glass furnace in Corona, Queens, New York, which produced Favrile and other unique varieties of glass for use in ecclesiastical and secular stained glass windows, lamps, vases, mosaics, and accessories.
While the magnificence and exceptional quality of Tiffany glass made this medium the most significant of his career, he continued to innovate, expanding his operations into enamels, pottery, and jewelry. Despite the enormous success he experienced in his many interrelated businesses over his long career, Tiffany’s work went out of vogue with the advent of modernism. Tiffany’s work received renewed appreciation in the mid-twentieth century, and continues to be associated with unparalleled quality and beauty to this day. When Tiffany died in 1933, the New York Times obituary counted him “among the best known of American artists.”