When we think of American Art Nouveau art glass, the objects that first spring to mind are probably the leaded lamp shades and iridescent vases of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). The son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, the famous jewelry designer, Tiffany studied painting with the great landscape painter George Inness; later, in Paris, he learned art glass techniques from the French master Emile Galle. These experiences informed Tiffany’s work at Louis C. Tiffany and Co., Associated Artists, which he established in 1879. The firm was renamed Tiffany Glass Co. in 1885, Tiffany Glass and Decorating Co. in 1892, and Tiffany Studios in 1900.

Another influence on Tiffany was ancient Greek and Roman glass, both the finishes and forms. Yet despite his focus on classic designs and naturalistic imagery, Tiffany was a technological innovator. Perhaps because he was a designer rather than an artisan, Tiffany worked and collaborated with some of the best thinkers, inventors, and craftsmen of his day. For his glass studio, Tiffany hired British chemist Arthur J. Nash, who remained with the firm until 1919; his son took it over in 1928.

The advent of electricity was also of keen interest to Tiffany. For an 1885 commission of sconces for the Lyceum Theatre in New York, Tiffany worked with Thomas A. Edison, who installed some of the electrical lighting himself. By 1906, Tiffany Studios was selling more than 400 models of electric and oil lamps and hanging shades.

Throughout, blown glass remained a preoccupation for Tiffany — it was, after all, why he had brought Nash to the firm in the first place. In order to have as much control on the process as possible, in 1893 Tiffany installed glass-blowing furnaces at his studio. A year later, with the help of Nash’s glass recipes, which Nash reportedly never revealed even to Tiffany, the Favrile brand was born.

Favrile glass was prized then, and is still admired today, for its eye-catching iridescent surfaces. The Favrile line included classic forms harking back to Tiffany’s fondness for all things ancient, as well as for new inventions like the paperweight vases, which are technical marvels that remain difficult for contemporary artists and artisans to duplicate to this day.

The paperweight vases are thick, making them a challenge to keep balanced on the end of a blow pipe, with a layer of decoration (usually flowers created from millefiori) sandwiched between clear layers of aqua-colored glass. A signed piece with no chips can bring tens of thousands of dollars at auction.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Tiffany’s love for leaded-glass windows and electrical lamps combined into a series of lamp shades on bronze bases. Despite being made of hard materials, the lamp shades seem to drip and drape over their light sources, in dense organic patterns resembling wisteria, apple blossoms, and other plants and trees...

After Tiffany’s death, his studios continued to produce stained glass windows for churches, but within a few years, as the Depression deepened, the studio closed (Tiffany never jumped on the Art Deco bandwagon). Today, Tiffany glass remains among the world’s most collected types of art glass, which has also made it a favorite of everyone from forgers to legitimate art-glass studios, many of whom have made names for themselves by producing historically accurate pieces in the 'Tiffany style.'

Key terms for Tiffany Art Glass:

Favrile: A technique for producing iridescent glass, patented by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1894, in which metallic and chemical compounds are applied to molten glass. Iridescence is achieved when air to the furnace is reduced, a process known as reduction, leaving only the metallic part of the compound on the surface of the glass.

Millefiori: An ancient glass technique, popularized in the 19th century, in which rods of fused glass are cut into cross sections to reveal patterns, frequently resembling flowers.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Neustadt Tiffany Collection

Neustadt Tiffany Collection

This stunning gallery of 138 Tiffany lamps and lampshades, part of the Dr. Egon Neustadt Collection presented by th… [read review or visit site]

Loetz.com

Loetz.com

This fabulous site is a guide to Bohemian art glass makers from 1885 to 1920. Loetz was the premier Bohemian glass … [read review or visit site]

Modernism

Modernism

This archived overview produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts offers thumbnail sketches of the design moveme… [read review or visit site]

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Chris and Val Stewart’s impressive attempt to create a complete catalogue of all known cloud glass, a decorative … [read review or visit site]

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

The heart of this website, home of the Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club, is the Identification Project, whe… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

5 Stunning Steuben / Tiffany Aurene Iridescent Lamp Shades Awesome Art GlassRare Tiffany Studios Grapevine Bronze & Caramel Glass Stamp Box C1908 ~ No Rsrv!9 1/2 Inches Signed L.c.tiffany Favrile Blue Iridescent Stripe Opalescent BowlRare Art Nouveau L C T Tiffany Favrile Etched Grapevine Scallop Edged Bowl C1910Stunning 19thc Spelter Aug. Moreau Female Figurine Lamp With Tiffany Glass C1890Rare Tiffany Studios Grapevine Bronze & Caramel Glass Letter Rack, 1908~Rare Antique Loetz Glass Vase Iridescent Aurene Green Copper, Tiffany Steuben Rare 10" Lundberg Studios Tiffany Style Favrile Glass Feather Trumpet Vase 1998~ Rare Tiffany Studios Grapevine Bronze & Caramel Glass Pen Holder C1908 ~Rare Tiffany Studios Grapevine Bronze & Caramel Glass Ink Well C1908 ~ No Rsrv!Rare Tiffany Studios Grapevine Bronze & Caramel Glass Desk Calendar, 1908 ~Stunning Rare Louis Comfort Tiffany 9 1/2 " Blue Favrile Iridescent Bowl EstateBrand New Tiffany & Co Crystal Pitcher Lily Of The Valley Water In Blue Box!Rare Tiffany Studios Grapevine Bronze & Caramel Glass Picture Frame, 1908~Tiffany Crystal Roman Numeral BowlTiffany & Co. Crystal Glass Art Elephant Wildlife Animal Paperweight SculptureTiffany & Co Floral Vine Cut Crystal Vase 10 3/4 Inches Tall With Box & Tags21x35 Tiffany Style Stained Glass Window Panel Green & Clear Beveled Sold As Is*Tiffany Carlo Moretti Cobalt Blue And Turquoise Bowl, Impossible To Find C. 1990~ Rare Tiffany Studios Grapevine Bronze & Caramel Glass Roller Blotter C1908 ~Tiffany Candles And Votive Crystal HoldersTiffany & Co. Glass Night Stand Pitcher & Cup Set Perfect~ Rare Tiffany Studios Grapevine Pattern Pierced Bronze Blotter Ends C1908 ~Pair Tiffany & Co Crystal Hampton Champagne Flutes2 Signed W/ Presentation BoxVictorian Tiffany Style Stained Glass Indoor Hanging Window Panel Colorful ArtTiffany Crystal Apple Figurine PaperweightTiffany & Co Crystal Beer Mug Set Of 4 - New In Orginal Packing And BoxBaccarat Artichoke Crystal Bud Vase Made For Tiffany And Co.Tiffany & Co Elsa Peretti Cobalt Blue Heart Paper Weight With BoxClassic Pair Of Tiffany Crystal CandlesticksTiffany & Co. 9" Crystal Rock Cut Bowl Made In Germany Labeled & SignedTiffany & Co. Tiffany Jungle Fine Bone China Bowl Lion Theme Mint No ReserveTiffany Sierra Crystal 12" Square Platter Original Box Packing UnusedTiffany Crystal Candlesticks Approx. 11 Inches TallTiffany & Co 2 1/4 Inch Traditional Porcelain Blue Box With White BowTiffany & Co. Tiffany Jungle Fine Bone China Mug/cup Bear/elephant Mint NrTiffany & Co. Tiffany Jungle Fine Bone China Plate Giraffe Mint No ReserveTiffany & Co Crystal Emerald Cut Paperweight 3.5"lVintage Baccarat "cyclades" Vase/decanter From Tiffany's - 9 1/2 " TallVintage Tiffany & Co Vase 1986 Tiffany & Company - 7" Glass Floral Pitcher - Made In ItalyVictorian Tiffany Style Stained Glass Indoor Hanging Window Panel Colorful ArtTiffany & Company. Crystal Rock Votive/tealight Candle Holder, Signed - Perfect!Tiffany & Co. Heavy Octagon Glass Lidded Jar Engraved "voyager Club"Auth Tiffany & Co. Clear Crystal Glass Geometric Cut Votive Candle Holder Tiffany & Co. Crystal Candle Holders (pair) 5" Tall - Retired Pattern~ Rare Tiffany Studios Grapevine Pattern Pierced Bronze Blotter Ends C1908 ~Crystal Vintage Bud Vase Signed On Base Tiffany & Co.

Recent News: Tiffany Art Glass

Source: Google News

See them all: Complete "Auburn in 35 objects" series
Auburn Citizen, August 31st

Opened in September 1938, the Schine is on the National Register of Historic Places and is noteworthy for, among other things, its Art Deco design created by renowned architect John Eberson. Located on South Street in the city's downtown, the Schine...Read more

Innovation on the Rose Kennedy Greenway is Growing 100% Organically
BostInno (blog), August 29th

There's also the potential for public art installations and engaging attractions, not unlike the Greenway Carousel at the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove we ... Financially, the Garden Under Glass was not adequately supported and the project was nixed...Read more

A Roundup of Design Sales in June
Maine Antique Digest, August 29th

Carina Villinger, head of the department, said this sale confirmed the strength of the Tiffany Studios category. Furthermore ... The parcel-gilt wrought-iron octagonal mirror, 38½" x 43¾", from 1925-26, “is a gem…thirteen stylized flowers and leaves...Read more

Lifetime of treasures up for auction
Charleston Gazette, August 28th

MARTA TANKERSLEY HAYS | Gazette Treasures from far-away and long ago help make up the eclectic art collection in the estate of the late Frances Yeend and James Benner, who became experienced collectors during decades of world travel. MARTA ... The...Read more

Defining God can be difficult
Port Clinton News Herald, August 25th

Make sure to stop and see all the beautiful art work and glass creations. They have beautiful new beads for ... Congratulations to Tiffany and Eddie Ehrbar on the birth of a beautiful baby boy, Ethan born, April 25. He weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces and...Read more

UPDATE: Is it true Tiffany at Trinity?
Delmarva Daily Times, August 15th

Trinity is home to a collection of church windows said to have been created by the famed 19th century artistic genius and glass-maker Louis C. Tiffany . Wright, glass curator at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, will speak at a Sept. 19 talk at...Read more

Ten Years of Tiffany Art Coins with Glass Inlays
Coin Update News, August 15th

tiffany-art In 2004, Liechtenstein company Coin Invest Trust issued the first coin of its Tiffany Art series and entered completely unknown territory. Until then, no one had even throughout about inserting a glass inlay into coins. The innovative...Read more

Wheaton Arts salutes NJ's birthday, glass-making past
Vineland Daily Journal, August 3rd

Durand glass has similar elements of shape, pattern and color that originated with Tiffany's earlier Art Nouveau glass. However, a signature of the Vineland “fancy shop” was the addition of crackled glass (putting hot glass into water caused fractures...Read more