Louis Comfort Tiffany
Louis Comfort Tiffany began his career as a watercolorist. He achieved enough success to exhibit at the American Water Color Society and the National Academy in the 1870’s and at Paris’s Universal Exposition in 1878.1 In 1879, he founded an interior design company, winning commissions to redecorate the homes of Mark Twain and Cornelius Vanderbilt, as well as the White House.2
Around this time, Tiffany also began experimenting with pottery and glass making. His work in these mediums brought him fame. In 1885, he opened the Tiffany Glass Company. Over the next two decades, Tiffany created objets d’art, lamps, and pottery featuring Favrile glass, a type of iridescent glass that he patented in 1894, and stained glass. His pieces won him wide acclaim, including a Grand Prize at Paris’s International Exhibition in 1900.
As of 1902, when he began to work at Tiffany’s jewelry design department, he had not yet tried his hand at jewelry.3 When he began to create, his style was clear. LCT’s jewelry featured designs inspired by nature (e.g., dragonflies, vines, flowers), mythology (e.g., Medusa), and ancient history. Constructed in yellow gold, his pieces were often embellished with enamel and set with semi-precious gemstones like moonstone, tourmaline, and garnet. The jewels were well received and remain excellent examples of the Art Nouveau style. Julia Munson, a designer in the Arts and Crafts movement, was often one of his key collaborators.
Maker’s Marks and Timeline:
- Son of Charles Louis Tiffany.
- Louis C. Tiffany & Associated Artists.
- Patented opalescent window glass.
- Opened the Tiffany Glass Company.
- Patented Favrile Glass.
- Grand Prize at the International Exhibition, Paris.
- Went to work in the design department at Tiffany & Co.
- First Director of Design for Tiffany & Co.
- Death of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
- Loring, John. Tiffany Jewels. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999, 168-179.
- Loring, John. Louis Comfort Tiffany at Tiffany and Company. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002.
- Frelinghuysen, Alice Cooney. “Nature Studies: Louis Comfort Tiffany.” In Bejewelled by Tiffany: 1837-1987, ed. Clare Phillips, 64-81. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
- Zapata, Janet. “More About Paudling Farnham, Tiffany’s Designer Extraordinaire.” Antiques, March 1, 1999.