April Showers Bring May Flowers...a happy time when Mother Nature covers the land with a fresh, new mantle of colorful flora and fauna. In keeping with this theme we present our beautiful Multi Floral Table Lamp with a pattern full of fanciful spring flowers. See Featured Item.
Did you know Louis Comfort Tiffany was an Accomplished Painter? Among all his other accolades he was also a fine artist. For April’s newsletter I have chosen photos of his charming paintings depicting scenes of spring. I have also included a few of my favorites - exotic paintings from his travels to the Middle East. See Article.
Boycat sniffing tulips, traditional harbingers of spring!
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ARTICLE : Louis Comfort Tiffany – An Accomplished Painter
Louis Comfort Tiffany, by Joaquin Sorolla, 1911
Wisteria, View from Oyster Bay
Louis Comfort Tiffany, an American artist and entrepreneur, (1848-1933, NYC), is most notably associated with the Art Nouveau movement of the 1880s. He became world-renowned for leaded glass windows, lamps, mosaics, jewelry, iridescent blown glass vases and various other objects d’arte. However, what is generally overlooked is that he was first and foremost a fine painter.
In the 1860s as a teenager, Tiffany began his artistic career as a painter in oils and watercolors. He used his inheritance from the family jewelry business to pay for trips abroad to North Africa and the Middle East, (or the Orient as it was then referred to), to paint local tribes, camel caravans, pyramids and mosque doorways. On trips around America he painted Long Island cow pastures, Yellowstone canyons and Pacific Northwest redwoods. He created his paintings to memorialize his travels and surroundings.
For about a ten-year period, Tiffany was considered one of the most talented painters in America comparing favorably to that of Winslow Homer and other great American artists of the late 19th century. But Tiffany had too many other interests to stay with a career as a nomadic fine artist.
Beginning of a Successful Business
In the 1870s Tiffany had the monetary means to hire the best craftsmen and began experimenting with other media of the arts ranging from new glass formulas for home furnishings to fine jewelry that he designed and produced in his studios and successfully sold at his Madison Avenue, New York showroom, (1885-1932), bringing him even more wealth. Ironically, it was his paintings that inspired the designs for his famous stained glass windows, most notably, “Wisteria, View from Oyster Bay.” 1908 Metropolitan Museum of Art
A Side Note: After his signature style went out of fashion in the roaring 1920s and his business ended in bankruptcy; with money squandered, Tiffany returned to a modest retirement at his Long Island estate and painted. Today his paintings hang in museums, are owned in private collections and sell at prices in the five figures.
The American Paintings.
My Family at Somesville, Maine 1888
Tiffany’s American paintings depict genre scenes executed in a dream-like quality similar to an impressionistic style. He captured idyllic outdoor scenes including his favorites, those of his large family as they strolled through a vast field of wildflowers on a leisurely walk with a cow or of his children playing in a meadow or fishing by a stream.
Nude at Lily Pond, New Britain Museum of American Art
Another favorite subject Tiffany painted was his beloved Laurelton Hall, a Shangri-La of a country house that his family visited from their Madison Avenue mansion during the summer months. Built in 1905 in Cold Springs Harbor, Long Island, New York it was a conglomerate of minarets with 84 rooms and sat on 580 acres.
He painted views of the grounds with laid out tiered balustrades and fountains, pastel flower beds and ponds that attracted picturesque swans. In its rooms, where he hosted lavish parties, he displayed his own paintings as well as his factory works and antiques and luxuries from around the world. One wing had floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows.
A Side Note: In 1933 after Tiffany’s death the estate became too costly for his family to maintain and was largely abandoned. In 1957 Laurelton Hall burned to the ground and most of its artifacts were bulldozed under to quell the fire. The land was subdivided and today Tiffany’s landscaping fragments survive amid multimillion-dollar homes that sit on a once-upon-a-time fairy tale estate.
View of Laurelton Hall, Nassau County Museum of Art
Peonies and Iris, Morse Museum, Winter Park, FL
The Oriental Paintings
Tiffany visited Cairo for the first time in 1870 and began painting numerous “Oriental” scenes of North Africa and the Middle East, primarily in watercolor. The sensuous lines, colors in turquoise, golds, mauve and exotic geometric patterns contrasted sharply with the era’s prevailing dark Victorian décor.
In panorama scenes Tiffany’s distant palm trees set against burnt sunsets in dream-like haze with detail of Arabic architecture comes out like an archaeological study. He painted locals in their native garb of Orientalism that captured the imaginations of Westerners. These works met with immediate success and were almost universally praised by the critics.
River Sunset, Nassau County Museum of Art
Untitled (Bodrum, Turkey), undated Britain Museum of American Art
On the way to Cairo, Brooklyn Art Museum 1872