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]



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]



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    

Signed Quezal 'snakeskin' Shade...l.c.t. Tiffany Studios Art Glass Era Signed Lct Stands For Louis Comfort Tiffany Irridescent Tom Thumb Vase EstateTiffany Studios Lamp,"tiffany Studios New York 419",bell-shaped, No Reserve6" Paperweight Vase, Marked L.c. Tiffany-favrile, Looks Like 75-7b, VintageGorgeous Signed & Dated Blue Iridescent Jack In The Pulpit Tiffany Style Vase"tifanny Studios New York 306" Shades Marked "lct" Approx. 15.5" Tall Beautiful Signed L.c.t. Louis Comfort Tiffany Blue Iridescent Lamp Base EstateAntique Tiffany Gold Favrile Art Glass Tazza Compote 3.25" X 6" Signed LctAntique Tiffany Favrile Art Glass Vase 7" Perfect Signed Lct 8954b Great Form Lot Of 2 Tiffany Champagne Flutes IobAntique Louis Comfort Tiffany Iridescent Favrile Art Glass Bowl Plate 4pc SetGorgeous C. 1900 Blue Tiffany Favrile Flower Form VaseLc Tiffany 18 Inch Floriform VaseGlassmasters: Louis Comfort Tiffany "landscape Of Peace" About 10 InchesTiffany & Co Lead Crystal 10" Flower Bud Vase Made In Italy With Blue Box Tiffany & Co. Crystal Atlas Vase 8* TallTiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti Signed 10 1/2" Cobalt Blue Thumbprint Glass BowlTiffany & Co Woven Crystal Vase New In Box- Weave 10" Heavy Germany Pr. Tiffany & Co. Crystal Candlesticks Candle Holders:unused In BoxNib Tiffany& Co. Numerical Band Bowl 10" Diameter Atlas CollectionTiffany & Co. Crystal Decanter Gorgeous Must SeeVintage Clear Glass Tiffany & Co. Golf Ball PaperweightTiffany & Co. Rock Cut Crystal Candle Sticks Never Used! New W/o BoxVintage Orrefors Tiffany & Co Lead Crystal Sugar Salt Celler W LidAuthentic Tiffany & Co. Crystal Georgetown BowlMeyda Lighting 36003 42"w X 9"h Tiffany Style Peony Stained Glass Window PanelTiffany & Co. Classic Crystal Candlestick HoldersTiffany & Co. Crystal Tartan Plaid Design Giasses Tumblers Whiskey Rocks 4Vintage Tiffany & Co. Octagon Glass Paperweight W/box New Without Box Tiffany & Co Rock Crystal Glass Perfume Bottle Signed Tiffany & Co Ribbed Optic Swirl Clear Crystal 14" Big & Heavy VaseTiffany Co CandlesticksTiffany Crystal Candlestick 11" HighTiffany Co Crystal BowlTiffany & Co. Faceted Crystal Prism Candle Holders Tiffany & Co. Limoges France Tiffany Garden Bowl 10" AcrossTiffany & Company Triangular Crystal Bud VasePair Of Tiffany Lead Crystal Candlesticks In The Windham Pattern 10.75"Tiffany & Co 9 1/2" Crystal Candlesticks Made In Germany Candlestick Holders Tiffany & Co 3 Sided Lead Crystal Rock Cut Glass BowlChina Tiffany & Co. Tiffany Farm Bowl Tiffany €Vintage Tiffany & Co. Heavy Crystal Hexagon 6 Panel Fruit Bowl Made In ItalyTiffany And Co PitcherTiffany Co Antique Crystal Bowl (signed)Elegant Crystal Bowl From Tiffany And Co.Tiffany & Co. Alfama Ceramic Cache Pot

Recent News: Tiffany Art Glass

Source: Google News

Ferguson Gallery holds open house to celebrate new Ferguson-Fenton Artistic ...
The Beacon, August 19th

Fenton Glass Company, established in 1905, created a glass product that would compete with Tiffany and Steuben all while making products unique to the company and to Ohio as well. Ferguson Gallery, having its own rich history, is another Ohio glass...Read more

Sense and Sensuality: Art Nouveau, Sainsbury Centre, Norwich, review ...
Telegraph.co.uk, August 19th

But the fabrics and wallpapers of William Morris also have a lot to do with art nouveau, as do the cascading patterns of coloured glass in lamps by the American Louis Comfort Tiffany. Art Nouveau was above all else a highly commercial style. It's...Read more

Can Starbucks Make 23000 Coffee Shops Feel Unique?
Co.Design, August 18th

Another 50 to 80 items make up what the company calls its “collection”: These are its more aggressively styled fixtures, art pieces, and the like that are refreshed every six months, akin to a spring and fall collection. The end ... I'm standing in...Read more

Manhattan theaters to love: Armory, New Amsterdam, Pershing Square, Lyceum
Newsday, August 17th

Probably my favorite is the Veterans Room, with windows and lights by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The renovated Board of ... And -- imagine the fun -- each member of an artist-in-residence program gets individual space in the period rooms to develop new...Read more

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

A triptych at Trinity United Methodist Church, “The Ascended Christ,” is believed to be a creation by famed glass artist Louis C. Tiffany. A glass expert will render an opinion next month about whether these and similar panes at the church are...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

Thomas Webb & Sons Art Glass Vase Brings $260000
Maine Antique Digest, July 28th

Another Thomas Webb & Sons English cameo art glass vase, signed “G. Woodall,” 8½" high, with a blue background with carved white opal overlay featuring a young woman and a bird, brought $45,000. A 17¼" tall signed Tiffany vase with a red body and ...Read more