Louis Comfort Tiffany: Nature by Design
Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, VT
June 20 – October 25, 2009
Louis Comfort Tiffany: Nature by Design explores the masterful use of natural motifs in Tiffany’s windows, lamps, glass vessels, furniture, ceramics, metalwork and jewelry.
The exhibition features over 75 works on loan from museums and private collections, with seventeen lamps and three windows loaned by The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass. “Many of the works on view have never before been on public display, including a furniture suite from the Shelburne Museum’s permanent collection that has recently been restored and is being exhibited together for the first time,” said Senior Curator Jean Burks, who organized the show.
Highlights of the exhibition include a gallery devoted exclusively to Tiffany’s floral-inspired lamps, revealing his genius as a colorist and luminist. Leaded-glass shades featuring pond lilies, oriental poppies and peonies, which are complemented by the virtuosity of their sculptural bronze bases, are included. The intent of this gallery is to broaden the public’s understanding of the range of his production.
Visitors may also explore the confluence of Tiffany’s innovative aesthetics and the sumptuous tastes of his Gilded Age patrons, the Henry O. and Louisine Havemeyer. The parents of Shelburne Museum founder Electra Havemeyer Webb, the Havemeyers commissioned Tiffany to design furniture and fittings for their lavish Fifth Avenue mansion in New York City. The recently restored 11-piece suite of furniture from the Havemeyer’s Music Room is the focal point of this gallery.
Tiffany’s ceramics, with shapes and decorations drawn directly from nature, are also featured in the exhibition.
A final gallery helps visitors to understand how Tiffany & Co.—the silver and jewelry firm founded by Tiffany’s father—played a critical role in developing Louis Comfort Tiffany’s taste and introduced his innovative metalwork and jewelry designs to the world.
A catalogue authored by Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Lindsy R. Parrott and Jean Burks accompanies the exhibition.
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