Tiffany Treasures: Favrile Glass from Special Collections


West Bridge
November 1, 2009 to October 31, 2010

The innovations and artistry of Louis Comfort Tiffany were explored in Tiffany Treasures: Favrile Glass from Special Collections. The exhibition showcased nearly 60 hand-wrought pieces designed by Tiffany and made at his glasshouse in Corona, N.Y., between 1895 and 1920.

The decorative vases and functional vessels on view—including floral vases and cameo and Cypriot works—were made with Tiffany’s signature Favrile glass, distinguished by its deeply toned, rich colors and often brilliant, iridescent finish. Trademarked in 1894, Favrile glass (the name is derived from the old English “fabrile” meaning “hand-wrought”) quickly became fashionable and inspired many other designers.

The pieces in Tiffany Treasures were drawn primarily from the A. Douglas Nash and Edythe de Lorenzi Collections at Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, and from the rarely seen Frank and Mary Elizabeth Reifschlager collection of Tiffany glass donated by the couple to the Rockwell Museum in Corning, N.Y., in the early 1990s.

“This assemblage of beautiful blown glass objects reflects Tiffany’s bold departure from the often fussy, predominantly Victorian style of the times in favor of more natural, sophisticated, and modern forms,” says Jane Shadel Spillman, curator of American glass. “He created some of his finest work in the first quarter century of production, between 1893 and 1918.”

Tiffany Treasures also included a stunning, highly unusual Tiffany Peacock blown-glass lamp. The lamp was donated to the Corning Museum fully shattered, but has now returned to its full glory after a painstaking three-month restoration process by Museum conservators.