Work of the Week – March 9, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

by Sadie Barner

Favrile floriform glass vase, #4360 G

This week’s Work of the Week is Favrile floriform glass vase #4360 G by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

“Beauty is what nature has lavished upon us as a supreme gift.” – Louis Comfort Tiffany.

When looking at the vase above, it is hard to compare it to the famous jewelry of Tiffany & Company. But there is a connection. Tiffany & Company started out as a fancy goods store founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany. It has since become the renowned jewelry and silver firm we all know today.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany. Louis Tiffany decided to pursuit art rather than join his father in the business. He had the lifelong goal of “the pursuit of beauty.”  Tiffany started out being trained as a painter but quickly started studying chemistry and techniques of glass-making when he was 24. He focused on new methods of glass manufacture. He patented an opalescent window glass that combined hues for a 3D effect. The opalescent window glass was rejected by the school of stained glass revival. Tiffany believed that stained glass windows required artist involvement at every stage, even if that mean working in a factory setting.

Tiffany found inspiration from nature. He started working on vases which he called “favrile” a word he took from old English that meant handmade.  His favrile vases are known for their iridescence and brilliant colors.

After these vases, Tiffany began working on commissions of stained glass and glass mosaics. Then he began working on metalwork, including lamps, desk sets and chandeliers. In 1898, he began experimenting with enamels. Once he mastered enamels, he started a line of pottery in 1900. In 1904, Tiffany turned to jewelry. He became the first design director at Tiffany & Co.

Above is one of Tiffany’s amazing favrile vases. The colors and shape show Tiffany’s draw from nature. The colors remind me of flowers bursting out of the ground still wet and reflecting the rays of the sun. The bulb shape with the flowing petal shapes continue this natural feeling of the piece.

When looking at the piece one wouldn’t think that the artist also created beautiful and unique jewelry. However, Tiffany worked in many mediums and created beautiful and elegant works that embodied nature.

Artwork above: Louis Comfort Tiffany, Favrile floriform glass vase, #4360 G, 1935 ca, Glass, mold blown, tooled ad drawn, 4.12 x 4.75  inches. Gift of Mrs. Harold A. Schaill. Permanent Collection. 1994.02.50.