also see: History of Tiffany Studios Favile Pottery

History of
Louis Comfort Tiffany (bio)

Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany was born in New York City February 18, 1848 the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany who founded the prestigious New York silver and jewelry firm Tiffany & Co. His father’s company founded in 1837 catered to the wealthy elite, presidents and royalty such as Queen Victoria of England. Louis was a teenager during The Civil War, in 1866 at the age of 18 he began to study art under American landscape artist George Inness. In his 20’s he traveled widely in Europe and visited Spain, North Africa and the Middle East. There he developed an interest in Islamic architecture and ornament, Romanesque and Moorish art, and Japanese ceramics. Growing up in such a wealthy family had enabled Tiffany to travel in Europe four times between 1865-1872.

On his return to the United States in 1872, at the age of 24 Tiffany began his first studies in glass and mosiacs. Later his experiments with iridescent glass were conducted by exposing hot glass to a series of fumes and metallic oxides. Over the years Tiffany Studios would produce many stained glass windows, lamps and glass vessels using his famous “iridescent” glass. In 1898 at the age of 50 Tiffany began his early pottery experiments.

Tiffany was inspired by Thomas Edison’s new invention the incandescent filament light bulb. He was among the first to create a revolution in home illumination using his colored glass to produce beautiful commercial electric lamps. Effort was made for Tiffany’s artistic products to reach all economic levels sometimes at the sacrifice of company profit. Most Tiffany lamps were made between 1895 and 1920.

Tiffany is best known his Art Nouveau style of free flowing almost sensuous natural forms and designs. Many recognize his glass vases, windows and lamps but he was also involved in interior design, furniture, rugs, ceramics, jewelry, bronze items, painting and photography. Louis Comfort Tiffany was a visionary of Art Nouveau design. His items are prized and treasured both here in America and all over the world. His career spanned over 50 years including tenure with L.C. Tiffany & Associated Artists, the Tiffany Glass Company, Tiffany Studios, Tiffany Furnaces and the L.C. Tiffany Furnaces. He died in New York on January 17, 1933 at the age of 85.
Anthony Mier
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