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    

Rare Signed Tiffany Studios Candlestick No Reserve From EstateSigned Large Elsa Peretti Tiffany Co Cobalt Blue Art Glass Centerpiece Bowl DbrStunning C. 1900 L.c. Tiffany Favrile Green Pulled Feather Vase Antique Signed Lct Tiffany Favrile Art Glass Tazza Compote Server NouveauAntique Tiffany Favrile Art Glass Vase 7" Perfect Signed Lct 8954b Great Form Signed Louis C Tiffany Lct Favrile Art Glass Master Bowl Art Nouveau EraIncredible C. 1900 L.c. Tiffany Flower Form Pulled Feather Vase SignedTiffany & Co 925 Sterling Silver Venetian Link Chain Bracelet Box Pouch & PaperTiffany & Co Crystal Christmas Tree Ornament Clear 2" Round Ball No ReserveL.c. Tiffany Favrile Gold Iridescent Art Glass Miniature Blow & Vase, Marked LctNew In Box Tiffany & Co. 84oz Crystal Pitcher Great Wedding GiftTiffany & Co Small Glass Box Gift Present Frosted BowSigned Louis Comfort Tiffany Lct Favrille Gold Iridescent Art Glass Salt Dip BccReally Nice Signed Tiffany & Co. Crystal Paperweight In A Diamond Shape!Pair Of Signed Tiffany & Co Art Glass Clear Panel Crystal 8" Candlesticks Nr DbrL.c. Tiffany Favrile Gold Iridescent Art Glass Salt Cellar Marked LctVintage Nash Art Glass Blue Green Band Footed Sauce Sherbet Marked Post TiffanyTiffany & Co Crystal Glass Water Pitcher Lily Of The Valley W/boxSigned Elsa Peretti For Tiffany & Co Apple Jam Jar/sugar BowlTiffany Crystal Candlesticks PairGorgeous C. 1900 Gold L.c. Tiffany Favrile Art Glass VaseTiffany & Co Crystal Christmas Tree Ornament #2 No ReserveTiffany & Co. Rock Cut Crystal Perfume BottleElsa Peretti For Tiffany Thumbprint Dish Cobalt Blue AshtrayTiffany & Company New In Box Rock Cut Crystal Votive Candle HolderEarly Tiffany Favrile Bat Wing Decorated Corona Period Art Glass Vase Circa 1890Antique Tiffany Gold Favrile Art Glass Tazza Compote 3.25" X 6" Signed LctIncredible C. 1900 L.c. Tiffany Favrile Green Pastel Taza Center Pc.Tiffany&co Crystal Six Sided Bowl,cigar Holder, Candy Dish Ex. ConditionSigned Louis C. Tiffany Stained Glass Mountain Rainbow Landscape Sun Catcher UsaPair Tiffany & Co Plymouth 8" Crystal Candlestick Holders Signed No BoxAuthentic Tiffany& Co. Dotted Ball/golf Ball Clear Art Glass PaperweightDale Tiffany Aventurine Blue Amphora Vase With Gold FlecksTiffany & Co Crystal Christmas Tree Ornament No ReserveTiffany & Co Christmas Ornament Hand Painted Bell Shape + Pouch + Box New No ResTiffany & Company Crystal 6 Inch Bowl Pair Of Tiffany & Co. Glass Candlesticks - 7"x4"Estate - Tiffany & Co Polished Crystal Bud Vase Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Tiffany And Company Glass Bowl 6.5"L.c. Tiffany Favrile Blue Gold Iridescent Art Glass Miniature Footed Bowl, RareTiffany Crystal Bowl In Bamboo PatternTiffany Style Stained Glass Cheyenne Design Rose Teapot Table Lamp LightTiffany & Co. Limoge Lidded JarTiffany Glass Candy Dish Nib Tiffany & Co White Square Wicker Weave Serving Platter Plate 12 X 12 X 2 & BoxTiffany & Co. Crystal Bowl - Signed & Labeled In Orig Box -made In Germany GlassTiffany & Co. Elsa Perretti Cobalt Blue Glass Heart Contemporary PaperweightTiffany Louis Comfort Collection Signed Crystal Deco Bowl 5"4 Tiffany & Co. Rock Cut 8" Plates - SignedTiffany & Co Heart Motif Crystal Bowl 5inTiffany And Co. Crystal GlassTiffany Sierra Triangular Bud Vase - NibTiffany & Co. Plymouth Crystal Candle Holders2 Tiffany Co Taper Candlesticks Candle Holder Faceted Crystal Pinecone SignedTiffany & Company Apple Serving BowlTiffany Stained Glass Red Rose Sun Catcher Tiffany & Co Commemorative Bowl~state Street Bank & Trust Co 1792-1992

Recent News: Tiffany Art Glass

Source: Google News

Color Her Friendly: Local artist blends wine & instruction
Warwick Beacon, October 24th

“Myself or one of our art teachers 'walk' the students through the basics of painting the picture while they enjoy a glass of wine or beer,” said Tiffany. “The lessons last about two hours and the students only get two drinks, so we don't really have a...Read more

3 Free Things to Do in LA This Week (Plus 2 for Under $25)
LA Weekly, October 24th

Set to music by Philip Glass, the new (apparently unnamed) dance is only being previewed here, the official premiere being saved for performances outside Los Angeles. Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway, dwntwn.; Fri., Oct. 24, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 25, 7 p.m...Read more

Campfire safety: be smart outdoors
WOTV, October 23rd

That includes batteries, plastic bags, glass, and aluminum cans. Supervise the campfire area continuously. A responsible adult should always be present while a campfire is burning. Encourage small children to stay seated several feet away from the fire...Read more

Cover Story: High-Tech Hubs
Business Facilities, October 22nd

Advanced manufacturers calling the Pittsburgh region home are meeting the demands of their customers—many of them global—from newly constructed, state-of-the-art facilities, as well as existing facilities that have been creatively adapted for re-use...Read more

Portraiture in Perspective: Works from the Permanent Collections
KBTX, October 22nd

The Forsyth Galleries at Texas A&M University are proud to introduce their newest exhibition Portraiture in Perspective: Works from the Permanent Collections, opening October 17. This exhibit will feature pieces from the University Art Galleries and...Read more

Easy Ways to Amass Valuable Collections
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

An Easy Way to Amass a Valuable Art Collection
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

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