Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light
As a painter, Louis C. Tiffany was captivated by the interplay of light and color, and this fascination found its most spectacular expression in his glass “paintings.” Through the medium of opalescent glass, Tiffany could actually capture light in color and manipulate it to achieve impressionistic effects. Using new and innovative techniques and materials, Tiffany Studios created leaded-glass windows and lampshades in vibrant colors and richly varied patterns, textures, and opacities.
Organized by The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in New York City, Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light is comprised of five windows, twenty lamps, and seventy-five pieces of opalescent flat glass, in addition to educational models illustrating how leaded-glass shades are selected and fabricated, along with three examples of Tiffany lamp forgeries to explore issues of authenticity and connoisseurship.
The objects on display are some of the most iconic and celebrated of Tiffany’s works. Chosen for their masterful rendering of nature in flowers or landscape scenes and for the subtle use of light and shading in decorative geometric patterns, they exemplify the rich and varied glass palette, sensitive color selection, and intricacy of design that was characteristic of Tiffany’s leaded-glass objects. This exhibition also highlights some of the key figures at the Tiffany Studios who made essential contributions to the artistry of the windows and lamps—chemist Arthur J. Nash and leading designers Agnes Northrop and Clara Driscoll.
Dr. Egon Neustadt, the founder of The Neustadt Collection, began acquiring Tiffany lamps in 1935. He went on to amass an almost encyclopedic collection, but perhaps his most significant acquisition came in 1967 when he purchased the flat and pressed glass leftover from the closing of the Tiffany Studios in the late 1930s. This collection contains some 275,000 pieces of glass and is the only holding of its kind. With both materials and objects, The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass is uniquely positioned to fully explore Louis C. Tiffany’s legacy of painting with color and light.
Image at top: Well by Fence window, design attrib. to Agnes Northrop (1857–1953), Tiffany Studios, New York, ca. 1910. The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, Queens, New York N86.W.9