Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light at Cincinnati Art Museum
By Heather Rader

Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light at Cincinnati Art Museum

Captivating the eyes of visitors with brilliant floral and landscape scenes, the Tiffany leaded-glass designs seem to be wonderfully confident in their beauty, just awaiting visitors’ accolades. With intricate details and vibrant colors, the Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum welcomes guests to step into the world of Tiffany Glass to view the exquisite glass lampshades and windows in this stunning art collection.

(L) Lamp Collection, Tiffany Studios (1900-1923); (R) Wisteria Library Lamp, Tiffany Studios (1900-1923), Clara Driscoll (1861-1944), circa 1901

As the eldest son of Charles L. Tiffany (1812-1902), co-founder of the luxury retailer Tiffany & Company, Louis C. Tiffany (1848-1933) was predisposed to fine goods and art at an early age. His career began as a talented painter, then evolved into decorative arts and interior design. Embracing various artistic and decorative mediums, his artistic curiosity lead him to designing and directing his own studios in which he produces leaded-glass windows, mosaics, glassware, lighting and various other designs. As one of America’s most acclaimed artists, Louis C. Tiffany’s brilliant designs and glass art work have become prize possessions for art museums and art collectors across the globe.

As a celebration of the stunning designs and meticulous craftsmanship of Tiffany Studios designers, Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light, showcases the interplay of color and light on delicate glass lampshades and windows. The traveling exhibition, organized by The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in Queens, New York, includes five windows, twenty lamps and 100 pieces of opalescent flat glass and glass “jewels.” Along with the exquisite glass collection, educational models and tools illustrate how the leaded-glass lampshades are created and visitors can watch a few short videos on their mobile devices about select pieces in the exhibit. 

(L) Begonia Reading Lamp, Tiffany Studios (1900-1923), circa 1905; (R) Peony Library Lamp, Tiffany Studios (1900-1923), circa 1905

So, what makes Tiffany Glass so special? Louis C. Tiffany used colored glass like a painter uses pigments. Instead of painting images onto a glass surface, he used the texture, pattern and opacity of the glass to create “translucent pictures.” Tiffany Studios (including Tiffany himself, chemists and other designers) created innovative techniques to manipulate the opalescent glass into artistic mediums. These new techniques, not conforming to centuries-old traditional stained glass, were quite a radical concept in the early twentieth century. 

Salve Regina Window, after 1910, Tiffany Studios (1902–1932), Frederick Wilson (1858-1932)

Louis C. Tiffany once stated, “color is to the eye what music is to the ear,” and this impressive colorful glass collection truly “paints” a vibrant picture for the eyes. Colors across a brilliantly hued rainbow and detailed craftsmanship almost makes one think that a photograph is being displayed, not a glass design. Whether you are an art connoisseur or novice, anyone can appreciate the bountiful colors and intricate details displayed in this Tiffany Glass collection at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

The Reader Window, Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company (1892-1902), circa 1897

Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light, is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum through August 13, 2017. General admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is always free! 


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