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Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Art

NeustadtExhibition15small 000 458x243Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Art celebrates Louis Comfort Tiffany’s (1848-1933) revolutionary contributions to modern decorative lighting. Organized by The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in New York City, this exhibition presents the first in-depth look at the Tiffany Studios’ deliberate efforts to produce lamps that balance artistry with utility and profitability. Some forty stunning objects in an array of colors, sizes and decorative styles are featured in five sections exploring the themes of fabrication, design inspiration, changing lighting technologies, and pricing and affordability. The show also includes tools, materials and period photographs to enhance the viewer’s appreciation of the objects by demonstrating how they were made.

Tiffany’s lamps are an innovative and successful combination of usefulness and beauty. As articles of utility, reading lamps, floor lamps, and hanging shades came in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to regulate and direct light. As objects of art, the lamps, with their interplay of colored glass and richly sculpted bronze, brought beauty into the home. Whether understated, minimal accents of color or showy, elaborate design statements, Tiffany lamps complimented a diversity of decorative schemes. This exhibition goes beyond the general appreciation of the beauty of Tiffany lamps by examining the artistry and social context of these iconic objects. An author at the turn of the century noted that Tiffany was motivated by “a desire not merely to add to the world’s beauty, but to bring beauty within reach of the public.” This exhibition demonstrates that, by creating lamps as objects of both utility and art, Louis Comfort Tiffany realized this goal.

Venues:

Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN
October 12, 2011 – January 13, 2013

Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA
Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
June 12 – September 9, 2012

Biltmore, Asheville, NC
July 1, 2011 – January 31, 2012

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA
March 20 – June 5, 2011

Reading Public Museum, Reading, PA
October 9, 2010 – January 23, 2011

Flint Institute of Art, Flint, MI
May 22 – August 22, 2010

Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, NY
September 21, 2008 – January 4, 2009

Read the exhibit review in the New York Times.

Hear Public Radio WRTI’s “Creatively Speaking” broadcast about the show.

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