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First Monographic Exhibition Ever Devoted in France to Louis Comfort Tiffany to Open in Paris
Louis C. Tiffany, Fenêtre du "Bella Apartment", c.1880. Verre, plomb. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Don de Robert Koch, 2002 ©Photo : The Metropolitan Museum.

PARIS.- The Musée du Luxembourg is hosting the first monographic exhibition ever devoted in France to the famous American creator Louis Comfort Tiffany, a show conceived by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder of the famous New York firm Tiffany & Co., indubitably counts among the most talented American creators ever. Thanks to his painterly eye for colour and composition, his passion for exoticism and his innovations in glass technique, he became as early as 1900 the leader of American design and his reputation extended as far as the main European capitals, where he was a rival for the great glassmakers of the late nineteenth century.

The lavish ornamentation, the careful finish, the dramatic and original light and colour effects which characterize his glass production (blown vases, stained-glass windows, lamps and objects) place him at the heart of many artistic trends of his time, from Arts and Crafts to the American Aesthetic movement, from Art Nouveau to Symbolism.

The exhibition brings together some 160 works (stained-glass windows, vases, lamps, objects, jewels and mosaics, drawings, watercolours and photographs), to reveal Tiffany’s outstanding contribution to the glass industry as well as to decorative arts in general.

Visitors will have the opportunity to admire an exceptional gathering of stained-glass windows, including four from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts which have been specially dismounted, studied, restored and transported for this show. Their presentation in Paris is a technical and logistical feat.

The exhibition is divided into six sections: Tiffany’s early career, with his stays in Europe (notably in Paris, where he studied painting in the studio of Léon-Charles Bailly), and his growing interest for glass; his work as an interior designer for wealthy American clients; his relations with the Parisian art dealer Siegfried Bing who contributed to the diffusion and success of his creations in Europe; the stained-glass windows, an essential, though often neglected, aspect of his production; the Favrile glass vases, with their organic shapes and remarkably contrasting colours; the expansion of the company, based on the lamp and decorative object business which confirmed Tiffany’s huge popularity.

Important works are being lent by prestigious international museums, among which the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (more than thirty works), the Ermitage Museum, the Musée des Arts décoratifs, the Musée du Petit Palais and the Musée d’Orsay (four vases which formerly belonged to the Musée du Luxembourg, and a Tiffany stained-glass window after a cartoon by Toulouse-Lautrec).

After Paris, the exhibition will be on display at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, from February 11 to May 2, 2010, for the 150th anniversary of that institution, and then at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (USA), from May 29 to August 15, 2010, for the opening of their new extension.

Under the direction of Nathalie Bondil, director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the exhibition is curated by Rosalind Pepall, senior curator of decorative arts (ancient and modern) at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with two guest curators, acknowledged specialists of L.C. Tiffany: Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, (Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang) curator of American decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Martin Eidelberg, a specialist of Tiffany’s work and professor emeritus of art history at Rudgers University (New Jersey).

In Paris as well as in Montreal, the scenography has been entrusted to Hubert Le Gall, a creator whose work is highly appreciated by the Musée du Luxembourg and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

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