Tiffany Studios Through The Years
The lasting legacy of Tiffany Studios New York—established in 1880 by Louis Comfort Tiffany—simply cannot be overstated in the world of decorative arts. From the earliest global influences to the insatiable collectors' market, the brand's history is as rich and storied as its output. Herewith, we trace Tiffany Studios New York through the years.
1837: Tiffany & Young is established by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young as a stationary and fine goods store.
1848: Louis Comfort Tiffany is born February 18th in New York City to Charles Lewis Tiffany and Harriet Olivia Avery Young.
1853: Tiffany and Young is renamed Tiffany & Co.
1866: Louis studies painting under teacher George Inness.
1865-1870: Tiffany leaves school and makes three trips abroad, traveling to Europe and North Africa, with painter R. Swain Gifford. Tiffany's exposure to new cultural and artistic influences creates inspiration for the painting “Snake Charmer at Tangier, Africa” exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
1872: Louis marries Mary Woodbridge Goddard on May 15th in Norwich, CT. They have four children together.
1875-1878: Louis begins experiments with new techniques in stained glass in the glasshouses of Brooklyn.
1878: Tiffany decorates his top-floor home and studio at the Bella Apartments on 48 East 26th Street in New York City. The leaded-glass window from the entrance hall, one of his earliest windows, illustrates an unconventional use of glass, including experimental opalescent, marbleized, and confetti-type glass, as well as crown glass and rough-cut "jewels."
1879 :Tiffany collaborates with Thomas Edison on the lighting design of the Lyceum Theater in New York, the first ever theater to have electric illumination. The light bulb was the impetus for the creation of the famous Tiffany Studios lamps, as their beauty was enhanced by the glow of electric bulbs.
1880: Becomes a full member of National Academy of Design.
1880: Tiffany forms Louis C. Tiffany Company, Associated Artists, in partnership with Lockwood DeForest, Candace Wheeler, and Samuel Colman. The partnership produces all kinds of decorative items including lights, flooring, windows and furniture. Together Associated Artists decorate many famous homes and buildings, including the Hartford home of Mark Twain and the Veterans' Room of the Regiment Armory in New York.
1881: Tiffany patents the opalescent window glassmaking technique.
1883: Leaves the firm Louis C. Tiffany Company, Associated Artists to form his own art glassmaking firm.
1884: Wife, Mary Woodbridge Goddard, dies.
1885: Incorporates Tiffany Glass Company on December 1, 1885, which later became known as Tiffany Studios. The glassware was exhibited in Samuel Bing's Gallery "L'Art Nouveau" in Paris.
1885: Tiffany's father commissions architecture firm McKim, Mead & White to construct a picturesque Romanesque Revival multifamily dwelling on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Madison Avenue in New York. Louis and his family occupy the top two floors, and he decorates his famous exotic studio, used for his artistic creations and frequent social gatherings.
1886: Marries second wife Louise Wakeman Knox on November 9; the couple have three children.
1890: Tiffany collaborates with artist Samuel Colman on decorating the Fifth Avenue home of Louisine and Henry Osborne, bringing together a wide range of disparate objects and styles to outstanding effect.
1893: Tiffany exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. His displays included a complete chapel with leaded glass windows, now housed at the Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida.
1893: Tiffany builds large workshops and furnaces in Queens, New York with Arthur Nash, a skilled glassworker from Stourbridge, England. Nash’s furnaces develop a method whereby different colors are blended together in the molten state, achieving subtle effects of shading and texture.
1893: Tiffany registers Favrile as the trademark for his iridescent glass made by the furnaces at his Corona workshops.
1895: Tiffany exhibits at the opening of Siegfried Bing's L'Art Nouveau Gallery in Paris, where work by Lalique is also on display.
1895: Produces the first commercial lamps.
1898: Tiffany and his studios turn toward lighting and lamps. The first Tiffany Lamp with a heavy bronze base is introduced. Patterns include the nautilus, dragonfly and Tyler scroll.
1899: Tiffany exhibits plaques and vases by the firm at the Grafton Gallery at La Société des Artists Français, introducing enamelwork and the firm’s unique style to London.
1900: “Associated Artists” is reorganized to form “Tiffany Studios.”
1900: Tiffany again exhibits at La Société des Artists Français and the Exposition Universelle in Paris, where he shows around 100 pieces of blown Favrile glass, leaded glass windows and a leaded glass screen. He wins a gold medal for applied arts.
1900: Elected chevalier of the Legion of Honour of France.
1902: Exhibits at the Prima Esposizione d'Arte Decorativa Moderna in Turin, Italy.
1902: Louis becomes the Artistic Director of Tiffany & Co. after his father’s death, and establishes the “Tiffany Art Jewelry” department to produce his unique jewelry and enamels.
1904: Tiffany & Co. pottery, copper enamels and jewelry is exhibited at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. The pottery, referencing plant forms, is greatly influenced by the work of European Art Nouveau designers, particularly Danish potters Bing and Grøndahl seen by Tiffany in Paris.
1905: Tiffany’s grand 84-room Laurelton Hall Estate is completed in the village of Laurel Hollow, Long Island. Showcasing the peak of Tiffany’s design skill in a variety of mediums, the estate is eventually donated to his foundation for art students. It was sadly destroyed by fire in 1957.
1907: Tiffany moves his jewelry studio to Tiffany & Co's head office. His jewelry designs become more stylized.
1918: Establishes the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation for young art students at Oyster Bay.
1919: Louis Comfort Tiffany retires from active participation in his company, but retains title of President. He returns to his first love, oil painting.
1925: Tiffany puts his own collection of enameled decorative objects on exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
1926: Tiffany & Co. wins a gold medal at the Sesquicentennial Expo in Philadelphia.
1933: Louis C. Tiffany dies at the age of 85 on January 17th in New York City.
1958: The first Tiffany retrospective shows an increased interest in Tiffany decorative objects.
1960: An Art Nouveau show in 1960 at the Museum of Modern Art further enhances Louis C. Tiffany’s legacy.
2006: A major exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art on Laurelton Hall opens in November.