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    

Tiffany Studios Spider Web Bronze/stained Glass Dresser/desk/ Trinket BoxL.c.t. Tiffany Favrile Art Glass Gold Candlestick Lamp Holder C1900, #4847 Rare Tiffany Studios Gold Favrile Art Glass Butter Pat | Lct Circa 1894 | NrAntique Tiffany Art Glass Vase 11.75" Signed "7728c L C Tiffany Favrile" PerfectStunning Signed Tiffany Favrile Gold Aurene Cordial Glass, Toothpick Holder #501Circa 1905 Lc Tiffany Gold Art Glass Vase/ Footed Bowl Signed Excellent No ResTiffany Favrile Compote Aurene Gold Iridescent Glass Lct Louis Comfort AntiqueAntique Tiffany Art Glass Pair Tumblers Glasses 5.5" Sgnd "lct Favrile" PerfectAntique Lct Tiffany Favrile Gold Stretched Floriform Footed Bowl Or Compote Nr!Tiffany Studios Pine Needle Glass Bronze Pen Tray #1004Tiffany Favrile Goblet 8" TallGlassmasters Louis Tiffany Autumn Landscape Stained Glass Suncatcher Very RareTiffany & Co., Crystal, Christmas, Wrapped Present With Bow & Star Ornaments.Tiffany & Co Punch Bowl-8 Inch High-art Glass-very Heavy-pedestal-nr!Tiffany & Co., Crystal, Christmas, Decorated Tree & 8 Point Star Ornaments.Vintage Elsa Peretti For Tiffany Signed Glass Candle HolderTiffany & Co Lead Crystal Decanter & Glasses (6) Bar SetTiffany & Co. Vintage VaseTiffany & Co Two New Windham Beer Mugs With Box Full Lead Crystal 16ozVintage Tiffany & Co. Crystal Koi Fish/dolphin Candlestick Holder 8.5" TallTiffany & Co Champagne Flute Glasses Set Of 2 With Box Tiffany? Pedestal Compote Iridescent Green/goldSigned Tiffany & Co. Bamboo Lattice Basketweave Fine Crystal Glass Bowl 6"Exceptional Louis Comfort Tiffany Collection Tiffany & Company Glass BowlTiffany Pair Of Candle Sticks Dolphin Or Koi Fish Cut CrystalTiffany & Co Atlas Collection, Crystal Container With Lid, Marking & SignedTiffany Crystal BoxSeguso Tiffany Clear Hand Blown Venetian Glass PitcherExceptional Louis Comfort Tiffany Collection Tiffany & Company Glass BowlTiffany & Co Bamboo Pattern Multisided Hexagonal Cut Crystal Salad Plates Set 2 Tiffany Candle Holders For The Frank Lloyd Wright Fdn. Tiffany & Co. Clear Crystal 6-sided Geometric Bowl With Original BoxTiffany & Co. Glass OrnamentBeautiful Tiffany And Co Crystal Bowl Comedy / Tragedy Theatre AwardTiffany Rock Cut Crystal Votive Candle Holder ~ Beautiful!Tiffany Chardonnay Wine Glasses (12 Oz)-set Of 6Exc Tiffany & Co Crystal Glass Art Tennis Ball Paperweight

Recent News: Tiffany Art Glass

Source: Google News

Met Gala 2016: Fashion veers into tech on the red carpet
CNN, May 2nd

Although the company's most fashion-oriented venture -- Apple Watch, along with other wearables like Google Glass have failed to impress so far -- it was the high profile departure two years ago of Angela Ahrendts, who ditched her role as CEO at...Read more

Mother's Day gets a pop of color at Art Birmingham
C&G Newspapers, May 2nd

The two-day outdoor art fair, presented by the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, will fill downtown with more than 150 juried artists selling a huge array of work in mediums like jewelry, ceramics, photography, glass, fiber and more. Each artist was...Read more

School of Engineering Partnering with Museum of Arts and Sciences to Develop ...
Mercer News, May 2nd

The collection includes thousands of fine works of art acquired over 55-plus years, including paintings by Matisse, Miro, Picasso and Whistler, glasswork by Tiffany and Chihuly, a significant representation of Georgia folk pottery and contemporary...Read more

This month's sales take on some country flavor
Tribune-Review, May 1st

Concept Art Gallery posted strong results during its April 2 modern and contemporary art and design sale at its Regent Square showroom. A tiny 61?2-inch by 10-inch Rockwell Kent wood-engraving-on-paper, titled “Lovers,” fetched a big hammer price of ...Read more

Miami Beach offers a vivid vintage vacation
Fredericksburg.com, April 30th

Epic 1939 Art Deco hotel totally renovated in 2014. The Hampton Inn Miami South Beach (hamptoninn.com, 150-up). Historic hotel totally renovated in 2015. The Nautilus (sixtyhotels.com, 225-up.) Historic hotel just reopened after two years of renovations...Read more

Research highlight: Jagadeesh Moodera
The MIT Tech, April 29th

All hard disk drives made since 2005 have a MTJ as the read sensor,” says Tiffany Santos '02, PhD '07, a former Moodera lab member who now works as a principal research engineer at HGST in San Francisco. As a materials science undergraduate and ...Read more

Architecture could finally break out in San Francisco, where "dreams go to die"
Dezeen, April 29th

One towering sign that the city might departing from its old ways is the Salesforce Tower, a glass and steel skyscraper by Pelli Clarke Pelli (the firm behind the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur). ... Without them, we suddenly had 10 acres of land and...Read more

Met curator Andrew Bolton, quiet defender of fashion as art
Rapid City Journal, April 28th

"The First Monday in May," directed by Andrew Rossi, chronicles the yearlong preparations for the show, "China: Through the Looking Glass," and the gala that accompanied it — an annual evening for the Met's Costume Institute that has become, under the...Read more