Louis C. Tiffany


Louis Comfort Tiffany, (1848-1933) was the son of the New York jeweler and founder of Tiffany & Co. As a youth Tiffany began studying painting, and in the late 1860s and 1870s he traveled in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. There he became fascinated with the art and decoration of the oriental world, and especially with ancient and medieval glass such as the famous windows of Chartres Cathedral. Tiffany also absorbed the principles of the British Arts and Crafts movement, espousing honest use of materials. In the late 1870s, with all these visual and technical influences fresh in his imagination, Tiffany dedicated himself to revitalizing the art and manufacture of American stained glass.


Initially creating geometric windows, Tiffany soon turned motifs derived from nature and suggested by the colors of the glass itself. To facilitate his experimentation and development of stained glass artistry, Tiffany established his own glass works in 1893, patenting inventions such as his Favrile glass. By 1902 he incorporated as Tiffany Studios, offering a wide range of glass and decorative products.


Tiffany Studios


In his workshops, Tiffany devised new and innovative methods to realize his artistic vision with glass alone, at one point developing over 5,000 color and pattern combinations.

These angel windows are made with many of Tiffany?’s characteristic techniques. He is especially well known for his opalescent glass, achieved by fusing or layering different colors of glass with white, creating a translucent marbled effect. Layering several sheets of glass creates subtle gradations of luminous color and depth. Pulling and twisting the molten glass produced irregular folds simulating fabric, known as drapery glass.

Nineteenth century stained glass windows used techniques largely unchanged since the Renaissance times, with figural details and embellishments applied to glass with colors of paint. Tiffany broke with that tradition to use paint sparingly, if at all. In these windows, only the faces and hands of the angels are rendered with vitreous paint, a mixture of ground glass and metallic oxides fired onto the glass, thereby retaining translucency in the manner of enamels.