Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848-1933) 

Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of Tiffany and Co.’s founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany, was a true Renaissance Man, an artist and designer in nearly every medium imaginable from watercolors to jewelry, and bookends to grand stained glass dome ceilings. His career began outside his father’s business as a landscape painter who travelled far and wide throughout America, Europe, and Africa. While he received critical and institutional acclaim for his colorist oils and watercolors, Tiffany felt the pull toward decorative arts. Still in his twenties, he underwent his first creative metamorphosis by beginning his studies of glasswork.

Louis C. Tiffany; credit: https://www.tiffanystudios.org/

In 1878, Louis C. Tiffany completed his first figural church window, installed at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Islip, New York. Around this time, Tiffany began to turn his focus to interior decoration, textile designs, wallpaper, furniture, and developing his groundbreaking and distinctive opalescent glass technique. With all the right pieces in place, Tiffany gifted the entire world with his vision. His became a household name apart from his father’s company, literally, as his pottery, jewelry, mosaic, and most especially his glasswork in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau styles filled the homes of the fashionable across the United States and Europe. As his fame grew, so did his scale in production. Yet Louis C. Tiffany took pride in supervising every stage of the processes in his studios and factories, from designs to formation, cutting, and placement of glass.

1In 1902, Louis Comfort Tiffany took on the mantle as Art Director for his father’s Tiffany & Co., where his love of nature motifs and bright jewel tones transformed the company as he established the Tiffany Art Jewelry department at the iconic Fifth Avenue Location. He later took on the world at large right here in St. Louis, Missouri at the 1904 World’s Fair.

It was in the year 1902, that the Lottie G. Merrell Memorial Window panels by Tiffany Studios were installed. Note the opaque glass technique throughout the robes of Christ and his apostles. The thick molded glass imitating the drape of cloth is just one of the gorgeous signatures of a true Tiffany piece. The double layer of panes as seen in the areas above Christ’s hands and shoulders, create a glowing, kaleidoscopic effect of vivid color shining through vivid color, thus indeed giving the effect of looking into the heart of an opal with all its shimmering hues. Each cut of glass is carefully and perfectly selected. In the landscape behind the apostles, the striking golds and violets magnify each other, the sky above a perfect transition into a sunset. The grapes cascade down a lattice of crosses, representing the impending sacrifice. This solemn moment of Christ’s mortal farewell is a stunning and masterful representation of why Tiffany’s direction remains unmatched in the world of stained glass.

Tiffany Studios

The Lottie G. Merrell Memorial Window

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