Written By Stefni Krutz.

Posted on January 2nd, 2020.

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Nature inspires art. This is especially true of the Art Nouveau movement popular from 1890 to 1910. A major proponent of this style in the United States was Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Nature inspires art. This is especially true of the Art Nouveau movement popular from 1890 to 1910. A major proponent of this style in the United States was Louis Comfort Tiffany.

What I knew of Tiffany was limited to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a line in the song Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, and that the stained glass lamp on Niska’s desk in Firefly was a genuine Tiffany. Yet, I was intrigued by the newspaper’s description of “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection” at the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica and the way that light was utilized to show the collection of stained glass to its best advantage.

The collection was exquisite. It wasn’t limited to stained glass windows and lamps, but those seized my attention and imagination. Overhead lighting in the showrooms was kept to a minimum and each stained glass window was surrounded by a wooden case with the lighting behind each piece directed only through the glass, highlighting the artwork and leaving the surrounding area a dark background that offered no distractions. This wash of perfect backlight aided contemplation of the whole piece and the care that was taken in the selection of each tesserae of glass to mimic and transcend the features of nature.

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Louis Comfort Tiffany was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, who founded the luxury store Tiffany and Company in New York City. Rather than go into the family business, Louis studied painting, then glassmaking and interior design. These interests coalesced in the creation of Tiffany Studios, L.C. Tiffany’s company that created art pieces such as stained glass windows, lamps, chairs, and mosaics for use in the interiors he designed.

Through the use of different techniques such as copper foiling instead of lead, and the creation of different types of glass to mimic natural elements such as leaves, skies and water, Tiffany and his artisans painted the beauty of nature with glass and light.

Nature inspires art. Go out and have a look, see what it inspires in you and what you might create.


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