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 Lamp Shades Possibly Tiffany Studios Favrileglass Or Stuben GlassAntique Tiffany Favrile Iridescent Decorated Miniature Art Glass Vase AureneL.c.t. Tiffany Favrile Large Green King Tut Decorated Vase 99cent Start!Antique Louis Comfort Tiffany Iridescent Favrile Art Glass Bowl Plate 8pc SetC1900 Signed Lct Favrile Tiffany Art Glass Open Salt Dish Cellar Iridescent NrL.c.t. Tiffany Favrile Tel El Amarna Brown Decorated Favrile Vase 99cent Start!Rare L.c.t. Tiffany Favrile Special Order Decorated Black Hooked Feather Vase Antique Tiffany Favrile Paper Label Iridescent Art Glass Vase Aurene Loetz EraAntique Tiffany Favrile Miniature Iridescent Art Glass Vase Aurene Loetz EraL.c.t. Tiffany Favrile Diminutive Organic Form Prunted Cabinet Vase 99cent StartAntique Tiffany Favrile Iridescent Two Handled Miniature Art Glass Vase Aurene3 Tiffany Favrile Art Glass, Toothpick 2.5" Unsigned, Salt + Toothpick SignedAntique Tiffany Favrile Iridescent Decorated Miniature Art Glass Vase AureneSigned Tiffany Studios Art Glass Gold Favrile Sherbet Numbered 1317Gorgeous C. 1900 Large Blue L.c. Tiffany Favrile TileSigned Louis Comfort Tiffany Gold Favrile Iridescent Art Glass 9.5" BowlGlassmasters: Dream Garden: Maxfield Parrish & Tiffany Studios About 8x10 InchGorgeous C. 1900 L.c. Tiffany Favrile Candle LampL.c.t. Tiffany Favrile Diminutive Bottle Form Cabinet Vase 99cent Start!Antique Signed L.c.t. Louis Comfort Tiffany Gold Aurene PlateGlassmasters: Louis Comfort Tiffany: "landscape Of Peace" 12x10 InchesGlassmasters: Louis C. Tiffany "wisteria" Laurelton Hall, Morse Museum 10x12 InTiffany Studios Grapevine Rocker BlotterTiffany & Co. Germany Crystal Race Horse Trophy Cup Vase - Red Hot Iron 1996Superb 3 5/8" Tiffany & Co. Crystal Trinket Box Gift Bow Design Mint ConditionTiffany Favrile Gold Green Iridescent Stemmed Cordial Signed Mint NrTiffany & Co. Swirled Deep Red Vase 9 1/2 Inches TallTiffany & Co Dresser Box Peony Blue & White England PorcelainTiffany & Co. Crystal Rock Cut Glass Brandy/decater BottleTiffany & Co. Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Vtg Crystal Candlestick SignedTiffany & Company Set Of 8 Tea Cups And Saucers Gold Trim+ Creamer&sugarSigned Tiffany & Co. Rock Crystal Perfume Bottle Never Used Sparkles Tiffany & Co. Crystal Ice BucketTiffany & Co Meadows Child's Set, Two Handled Cup, Bowl & Plate, Bunnies FlowersTiffany & Co. Signed Ring Cut Design Flower Bud Vase Heavy Artglass Crystal RareTiffany & Co. Flute Wine GlassesTiffany & Co. Hand Blown Crystal Refresher SetTiffany & Co. Germany Crystal Race Horse Duo Disco Trophy Vase Red Hot Iron 1997Tiffany & Co. Germany Crystal Race Horse Handicap Trophy Vase Red Hot Iron 1997Tiffany & Co Signed Clear/frosted Crystal Scarab PaperweightTiffany & Co Janus Beautiful Crystal Rock Cut Glass Nut Fruit Candy Bowl Dish 6"L.c.tiffany Signed And Numbered Ruffled Edge Glass Bowl And Under SaucerSigned Louis C. Tiffany Glassworks Small Stained Glass Tree Of Life Window PaneTiffany & Co. Large 9” Grenada Clear Crystal Glass PitcherVintage Estate Authentic Tiffany & Co. Solid Rock Crystal Perfume BottleTiffany & Co. Crystal 9 1/2" Candlesticks Hampton Candleholders.....l@@k!Tiffany And Comp Sterling Spoon Mint Cond Elegant Pattern Days Gone By Vintage Frosted & Clear Glass World Globe Paperweight 3" DiameterTiffany & Co Private Stock Fine Hand Painted French Porcelain DishTiffany Art Glass Vase Artist Signed Jeff ZimmermanArt Glass Nouveau By Ray & Lee Grover 1st Ed Guide Color Plates Tiffany SteubenTiffany Crystal BowlTiffany & Co Crystal Bud Vase Metropolis Pattern-signed-9 Inches Tall Louis Comfort Tiffany Collection Crystal CandlesticksVintage Tiffany & Co. Tiffany Toys Plate Bowl Ironstone Dog Nutcracker EnglandTiffany & Co Crystal Stars & Stripes Candy/nut Bowl 5in Marked

Recent News: Tiffany Art Glass

Source: Google News

The Best Museums In NYC
Gothamist, July 31st

Now, the Queens Museum harbors a hefty collection of fine arts, Tiffany glass, and collections stemming from the 1939 and 1964 Worlds Fairs, the latter of which is currently on view as part of temporary exhibition Behind the Curtain: Collecting the New...Read more

Bay Area visual arts picks, July 31
SFGate, July 30th

A Radiant Light: The Artistry of Louis C. Tiffany: Taking a flight? Dropping ... The works include a cobweb table lamp, one of only seven known to exist; a one-of-a-kind Zinnia table lamp; a Peacock window panel; oil paintings; glass vases; and ceramics...Read more

Work on GO station being stepped up
Hamilton Spectator, July 29th

Dreise said the station will include Hamilton touches, such as planters fitted with Corten steel, limestone in the plaza, spaces for food trucks and open spaces to connect it with the popular Art Crawl on James Street North. The glass building will be...Read more

Fourth of July river litter up nearly 400 percent
mySanAntonio.com, July 29th

Anna Malek (front) holds onto to her canned drink while tubing the Comal River with Ayden Gomez and his son, Ayden Gomez, Jr., near Hinman Island Park in New Braunfels on Saturday, July 26, 2014. The 2012 "can ban" ordinance was ruled ...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

Serving set worthy of a granddaughter or a First Lady
Central Kentucky News, July 27th

Louis Comfort Tiffany, the son of Charles, was famous for his lamps and art glass. Louis Tiffany had absolutely nothing to do with this coffee set, nor did his father for that matter. By the date this coffee set was manufactured, it was just the store...Read more

Cut glass exhibit honors convention's return to Louisiana
The New Orleans Advocate, July 26th

Meanwhile, 80 pieces from their collection of 1,500 are displayed in the Louisiana Art & Science Museum's exhibit, “American Brilliant Cut Glass: A Silver Lining.” That show ... “Most of it is Gorham silver, some of it is Tiffany,” Suzanne Sexton says...Read more

Fruitland sculptor seeks to show other side of glass
Delmarva Daily Times, July 25th

And then there's Steven Durow, Tiffany's self-proclaimed antithesis. The Fruitland sculptor and Salisbury University art professor seeks to shatter age-old beliefs about what glass can do. Forget vases and Christmas tree ornaments. In Durow's often...Read more