The first exhibition to explore Louis C. Tiffanys glass mosaicsan extraordinary but little-known aspect of his artistic productionwill be presented by The Corning Museum of Glass
from May 20, 2017, through January 7, 2018. Tiffanys Glass Mosaics, organized jointly by CMoG and The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, will combine works from both collections with important loans and specially designed digital displays to reveal how Tiffanys mosaics reflect this aspect of his studios artistry and innovation in glass. The exhibition will feature nearly 50 works dating from the 1890s to the 1920s, from intimately scaled mosaic fancy goods designed for use in the home to large-scale mosaic panels and architectural elements composed of thousands of individual pieces of glass. Examples of Tiffany mosaics of such wide-ranging scope and scale have never before been displayed together, and the exhibition provides a unique opportunity to take in the breadth of this aspect of Tiffanys work. Architectural mosaics still in situ will be presented through digital displays, showcasing new high resolution photography of these works recently captured by the CMoG team.
We are thrilled to partner with The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass on this groundbreaking exhibition. Thanks to the curatorial and digital expertise of both of our teams, this important aspect of Tiffanys work is finally able to be explored in a meaningful way, said Karol Wight, president and executive director of CMoG. The history of glass mosaics extends back more than 3,000 years, and the permanent collection at CMoG is the perfect backdrop for contextualizing the work undertaken by Tiffanys firm to popularize this technique in the United States.
The exhibition will reveal the process of creating a mosaic at Tiffanys studiosthrough detailed watercolor studies and drawings to surviving glass sample panels and examples of completed work. Museum visitors will gain insight into the labor-intensive processes, including the selection of individual pieces of glass, which played a vital role in the overall aesthetic of the final product. Drawing on The Neustadts archive of Tiffany glass, objects on display will also include original examples of colored sheet glass, glass jewels, and glass fragments made for specific mosaics. There will also be loans from private collections as well at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Museum of Modern Art, Chrysler Museum of Art, Haworth Art Gallery, Kalamazoo Art Institute, and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Art.
Although Louis C. Tiffany is best known for his pioneering leaded glass windows and lamps, his mosaics are the culmination of his experimentation and artistry in glass, said Lindsy Parrott, director and curator at The Neustadt and co-curator of Tiffanys Glass Mosaics. Indeed, the mosaics represent an exciting synthesis of his work in both leaded and blown glass. Using a rich variety of materials, including multicolored opalescent glass and shimmering iridescent glass, accented with three-dimensional glass jewels, Tiffanys innovations in glass established a bold new aesthetic for mosaics and contributed a uniquely American character to the centuries-old art form.
The exhibition will also highlight the role of Tiffanys turn-of-the-20th-century showroom, where he presented the finest examples of his completed work for his clients and the public. Photographs of the various workrooms were part of Tiffanys marketing efforts and were used in both his advertisements as well as his marketing brochures. These behind-the-scenes photos emphasized that each object made at the Tiffany Studios was handcrafted, as opposed to mass produced.
Tiffanys successful combination of art and business coincided with the rapid development of consumer culture in the United States, said Kelly Conway, curator of American glass at CMoG and co-curator of Tiffanys Glass Mosaics. His impressive New York City showroom and clever, gorgeous displays of the companys mosaics at worlds fairs, coupled with strategic marketing, sparked consumer interest and drove demand for high-priced luxury objects for the home.
Many of Tiffanys mosaic murals are still installed in their original settings, and will be represented by photographs. CMoGs photography team visited 12 locations in New York State, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago, to capture detailed shots of these mosaic commissions, adding significant imagery to the field. The new photography will be presented in the exhibition through the use of digital displays, offering an interactive, immersive experience that will bring these important works directly to visitors at the Museum. Through digital interactives with zoom capabilities, visitors will be able to explore these mosaics in new and exciting ways: up close and at eye level, providing the opportunity for heightened appreciation of the material and the glass selection
Tiffanys Glass Mosaics will be accompanied by a new publication presenting the most comprehensive documentation and analysis of Tiffanys glass mosaics to date. The volume advances scholarship in the field, and offers new perspectives for readers at all levels of expertise. Authors include the co-curators Conway and Parrott, Elizabeth J. De Rosa, independent curator Natalie R. Peters, independent art historian; Jennifer Perry Thalheimer, curator and collection manager, Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Art; and Karol B. Wight, president and executive director, CMoG. The appendix was meticulously researched and compiled by Morgan T. Albahary, curatorial and collection assistant, The Neustadt. It is fully illustrated with new photography of many of Tiffanys most celebrated mosaic commissions, including The Dream Garden in The Curtis Center in Philadelphia and Jacques Marquettes Expedition in Chicagos Marquette Building. Also included in the publication is a comprehensive appendix of all of Tiffanys known public, ecclesiastical, and residential mosaic commissions, which serves as both a reference for researchers and a guide for anyone interested in visiting extant Tiffany mosaics.