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    

40's Or Older Loetz Or Tiffany Style Iridescent Art Glass Vase, Pinched, 5 Vintage Tiffany & Co Art Glass Christmas Ornaments Pinecone, Present, Sled+ NrUnusual Large Tiffany Vase Gold W/bright Blue Iridescent Tendrils/ Pads SignedAuthentic Lct Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios Gold Favrile Candle Lamp Shade NrRare L C Tiffany Blue Favrile Tiny Vase Toothpick Holder C1910 Paper LabelRare L C Tiffany Gold Blue Favrile Tiny Vase Toothpick Holder C1910 Paper LabelLct Tiffany Art Glass Gold Iridescent Ruffled Salt 6303 Signed L.c.t.Tiffany & Co Crystal Pair Of 9 1/8” H Hampton Candlesticks - MintBeautiful L C Tiffany Blue Favrile 6 3/4" Ruffled Bowl C1900-1910Eight Tiffany & Company Crystal Christmas Ornaments~ Rare Tiffany Studios Grapevine Bronze & Caramel Glass Pen Holder C1908 ~Antique Tiffany Studios Postage Scale Grapevine Pattern Great PatinaPair Of Bobeches For Tiffany Studios CandlesticksTiffany & Co. 4 1/2" Windham Crystal Candlesticks - MintTiffany Favrile Iridescent Gold Cream/ Jug/vase ..wonderful Condition ..labelledAuthentic Tiffany & Co Handcrafted Pewter Jewelry Dish Retail Box & Cloth SleeveSuperb Dale Tiffany American Art Glass Amphora Vase Uncased Blue & AventurineEight Tiffany & Company Crystal Christmas OrnamentsLct Tiffany Art Glass Gold Iridescent Ruffled Salt 6303 Signed L.c.t.1992 Tiffany & Co. Louis Comfort Tiffany Collection Candlestick Holders Lot Of 2Tiffany & Co Clear Crystal Balloon Red White Wine Water Goblet Stem Glass NewWonderful C. 1900 Blue Favrile L.c. Tiffany Pin Tray Rare 10" Lundberg Studios Tiffany Style Favrile Glass Feather Trumpet Vase 1998Signed Lct Tiffany Favrile Open Salt Cellar Bowl Excellent Antique ConditionAntique Tiffany Favrile Art Glass Vase 7" Perfect Signed Lct 8954b Great Form Tiffany & Co Seagrams 1776 Whiskey Decanter With Original Pouch, Tag, & Box!Beautiful L C Tiffany Blue Favrile Onion Skin 7 3/4" Low Compote C1910-1920Yellow Opalescent Favrile Vase Paper Sticker LabelTiffany Holiday Tiffany & Co Garland Oval Serving Platter 12" X 7.5" Japan NibAntique Tiffany Gold Favrile Art Glass Tazza Compote 3.25" X 6" Signed LctFavrile Threaded Glass Tumbler-tiffany-flemish-gold Irridescent-signed LctAuthentic Tiffany & Co 10" Inch AtlasTiffany & Co. Signed Crystal Glass Diamond Shaped Paperweight DiscontinuedTiffany & Co. 4" Square Candy Dish In Original Box, Basket Weave Crystal/glassSigned Louis Comfort Tiffany Gold Favrile Iridescent Art Glass 9.5" Bowl20.75" X 35" Tiffany Style Stained Glass Beveled Window Panel Flowers Sold As IsVintage Dale Tiffany Art Glass Studio Blue Vase With Gold Fleck SwirlsBeautiful Pair Of Tiffany & Co. Crystal CandlesticksLovely Tiffany & Co. Crystal "rock Cut" Faceted Votive Tea Light Candle HolderTiffany Style Stained Glass Design Cheyenne Rose Teapot Table Mood Lamp LightTiffany & Co Small Crystal Bowl Plaid Pattern Mint Unused In Box 4.5 InchVintage Antique L.c.t Tiffany? Favrile Gold Purple Iridescent Art Glass BirdTiffany Sierra 9" Crystal Square Bowl Brand New Free Shipping!Tiffany And Co. Crystal Apple Signed On Base Gorgeous Signed Tiffany & Company Crystal Bowl W/ Company BoxTiffany And Co. Glass BowlTiffany & Co. Crystal Art Paperweight Multi Faceted Jewel Tiffany & Co. Glass Crystal Heart Rimmed BowlTiffany & Co. Faceted Crystal Prism Candle Holders Two Tiffany Crystal Raised Heart Rimmed Serving Bowls: Lrg 8x5, Sml 5x3Tiffany & Co Mug "alfama" Collection Replacement In Beautiful Condition EnglandRookwood Spoon RestMarked Tiffany Happy Birthday Bud Crystal Glass Vase Tiffany Vase

Recent News: Tiffany Art Glass

Source: Google News

Looking back: Sept. 19, 2014
Shelbyville Sentinel News, September 19th

I'm one: Tyler Zimmerman, Nancy Catherine Clark, Tiffany Ann Grasch, Luke James Hedges, Daylen Thomas Hocker, Taylor McKenzie Smitha, Jared Michael Whelan, Hannah Nicole West.... Deaths: Arthur "Ted" Christopher Barr, 67; Betty Mae Dennison, 73; ...Read more

Admiral Theatre preps for 75th anniversary
Bremerton Patriot, September 19th

The foundation proudly states that since 1997, the theatre's art-deco architecture and design have been at the center of renaissance and reawakening of downtown Bremerton not witnessed since the end of World War II. .... Staff members include directors...Read more

Why your next great home accessory might come from the sea
Greenville News, September 19th

Many of the signature decoupaged, handblown glass plates with coral images from New York artist John Derian are based on 18th-century prints, with a naturalistic style that echoes those of botanical illustrations of the same vintage. Water colors and...Read more

BC-HOME-CORAL-DESIGNS:TB — lif
Naples Daily News, September 19th

Many of the signature decoupaged, handblown glass plates with coral images from New York artist John Derian are based on 18th-century prints, with a naturalistic style that echoes those of botanical illustrations of the same vintage. Water colors and...Read more

Art in Autumn: Crafts, commerce and community in Weaverville
Mountain Xpress, September 16th

20. The juried festival has grown from about 70 artists the first year to 114 artists on the 2014 roster. Displayed works include a range of mediums, from glass to ceramics to photography and more, as well as a series of live music performers...Read more

Alone in the Virtual Museum
The New Yorker, September 15th

I felt a similar solitude the other day, while walking through a ghostly Metropolitan Museum, starting by the Tiffany windows in the American wing and working my way back through medieval art and European sculptures to the front atrium, without...Read more

Casting the Glow of Tiffany Far and Wide
New York Times, September 11th

Museum holdings of Tiffany glass, which are rarely returned to the market, are in flux this year. On Sept. 23, the Doyle auction house in New York will offer about 50 pieces of Tiffany glass from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Estimates range from...Read more

Doyle New York to Auction Objects by Louis Comfort Tiffany Deaccessioned ...
ArtfixDaily, September 7th

Highlighting the lamps by Tiffany Studios are a bronze and leaded favrile glass Dragonfly lamp designed by Clara Driscoll, circa 1906-13 (est. $50,000-70,000) and a gold painted bronze and leaded favrile glass Dogwood lamp (est. $20,000-30,000)...Read more