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    

Tiffany & Co Crystal Glass Decanter Square Whiskey Facet Stopper Fine SignedAntique Signed Lct Tiffany Favrile Art Glass Tazza Compote Server NouveauStunning C. 1900 L.c. Tiffany Favrile Green Pulled Feather Vase Incredible C. 1900 L.c. Tiffany Flower Form Pulled Feather Vase SignedAntique Louis Comfort Tiffany Iridescent Scarab Wax SealVintage Tiffany Studios Grape Vine Hinged Lidded Box #809 As Is Condition 6 5/8"Tiffany Studios Pine Needle Pen TrayMetropolitan Museum Of Art Tiffany Magnolias & Irises Glass Panel GlassmastersVintage 80s Tiffany Crystal Glass Atlas Roman Numeral BowlVintage Tiffany & Co. Beveled Crystal Glass Candlestick Holder TablewareSet Of Two Tiffany & Co Crystal Glass Champagne Flutes Original Box NewVintage Tiffany And Co Shell Bowl W Box .99 Cent Start Wow2013 Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti €Antique Tiffany Favrile Art Glass Vase 7" Perfect Signed Lct 8954b Great Form Great Tiffany Crystal Beer Mug Stein ~ Rock CutVintage Art Glass Lily Flower Iridescent Tiffany Studios Style Lamp ShadeGorgeous C. 1900 Gold L.c. Tiffany Favrile Art Glass VaseTiffany Studios New York Small Bronze Brass Art Nouveau Metal Pin Dish 2017Estate - Tiffany & Co Polished Crystal Bud Vase Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Signed Louis C. Tiffany Stained Glass Mountain Rainbow Landscape Sun Catcher Usa27+in Tiffany-style Table Lamp With Stained Glass ShadePair Of Tiffany & Co Crystal Votive Candle Holders - Rock Cut - Excellent Vintage Nash Art Glass Blue Green Band Footed Sauce Sherbet Marked Post TiffanyTiffany & Co Set Of 8 Classic 9 ¼ Inch Champagne Flutes Glasses In Original Box Tiffany Glass Window Hanging Tree Of LifeTiffany & Co. Crystal Melon Ball Shape Optic Ruffle Top Pitcher Tadpole Rose / Fish Bowl Vase Loetz Kralik Tiffany Bohemian Arts Crafts Deco EraTiffany & Co. Crystal Bowl - Signed & Labeled In Orig Box -made In Germany GlassTiffany & Co. Woven Square Glass Platter Dale Tiffany Aventurine Blue Amphora Vase With Gold FlecksTiffany Frog By Sybil ConnollyTiffany & Company Square Crystal Decanter Pga Tour Barware Bar Whiskey ScotchTiffany & Co. Signed Crystal Candlestick 8" Plymouth BeautifulTiffany & Co Heart Motif Crystal Bowl 5inTiffany And Co. Crystal GlassTiffany Crystal Bowl In Bamboo PatternAuthentic Tiffany & Co. Swirl Cut Crystal Eliptical VaseBaccarat Artichoke Crystal Bud Vase Made For Tiffany And Co.2 Tiffany Co Taper Candlesticks Candle Holder Faceted Crystal Pinecone SignedBeautiful Tiffany And Company Made For Enterprise Heavy Lead Crystal Bowl1980 Tiffany & Co Etched Crystal Paperweight 85th Anv Trinity Church Rockford,il

Recent News: Tiffany Art Glass

Source: Google News

Upcoming Western Pa. auctions include paintings, pottery, coins
Tribune-Review, October 19th

Also in the mix are Eskimo art, a “crazy quilt” crafted by public-school students in Idaho, early maps of Pittsburgh, silver flatware and serving pieces, accessories, mint coin sets and art glass. Previews are at Concept Art Gallery from 10 a.m. to 5...Read more

Medical Center: The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Archive Collection)
DVD Talk, October 19th

No extras for these very nice fullscreen color transfers (...although someone in the WB Art Department went a little crazy with Paint when boosting Everett's eyes for the DVD cover--he looks like one of those Village of the Damned brats). .... and...Read more

An Easy Way to Amass a Valuable Art Collection
ThinkAdvisor, October 17th

Your art-collecting clients are likely to pick up helpful but hard-to-follow advice on building their collections. “Buy the highest-quality objects you can afford” is one adage they're likely to hear. But that guidance makes sense, because it's often...Read more

Easy Ways to Amass Valuable Collections
ThinkAdvisor, October 17th

Collecting glass art in earnest has been popular since the 1970s, according to Nicholas Dawes, vice president of special collections with Heritage Auctions in Dallas. This market is dominated by Americans, says the expert, who has written “Lalique...Read more

Artful Finnish
W Magazine, October 17th

They didn't flinch when American artist Matthew Day Jackson arrived in Sarvisalo for the first artist residency, in 2010, and asked to create an underground bunker to house a skeleton in a glass coffin he planned to make. (“He presented us the drawing...Read more

Dream Home: Washington Place apartment exudes elegance and history
Baltimore Sun, October 16th

The white Beaux-Arts-style building in Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood, known simply as 700 Washington Place, is considered by many as one of the city's most elegant addresses. Julie Canard, a Washington native, was smitten by what she describes...Read more

Behind the Scenes at Museums in Boston and Pasadena
New York Times, October 16th

glass cutters, Mr. Anderson said, “were willing to take risks.” In the Met chapel, a Moses portrait window by Bousch is still blotched with age, and its restoration is under discussion. Elizabeth Cleland, a curator of European sculpture and...Read more

Color & Light Exhibit Coming To TAMU Art Gallery
KBTX, September 29th

The name Louis C. Tiffany is synonymous with great design. His works in decorative arts, specifically in art glass and interior design, heavily influenced the American turn-of-the 20th century aesthetic and helped to introduce the public to the Art...Read more