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Shade Garden: Floral Lamps from the Tiffany Studios

Queens Museum
November 9, 2013 – March 13, 2016

shade gardenTiffany’s interest in nature was passionate and enduring. Throughout his life he surrounded himself with great varieties of indigenous and exotic plants and flowers. At his magnificent Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall, he maintained extensive greenhouses as well as formal gardens, water gardens, and a dramatic hanging garden. Tiffany’s personal library contained numerous titles on botany, gardening, and zoology. He also generously supported many horticultural organizations including the New York Botanical Garden. Speaking of her father, Tiffany’s daughter recalled that watching “the flowers grow from bud to full bloom was his greatest pleasure.”

Nature was Tiffany’s lifelong muse. His nature-based aesthetic dominated his artistic vision, and he staffed the Tiffany Studios with designers and artisans who were also inspired by the rich colors and sensual forms of the natural world. Endeavoring to translate nature faithfully into glass, his designers observed and sketched flowers in nature and worked from photographs or cut specimens in the studio to carefully render flower forms. Drawing from Tiffany’s immense glass palette, artisans selected color, pattern, translucency, and texture to achieve a variety of effects: velvety or paper-thin petals, waxy or veined leaves, dappled sunlight or shadow.

Today, Tiffany’s floral lamps are among his most recognizable and celebrated works. Perpetually in bloom, these table lamps, floor lamps, and hanging shades are a testimony to the sophisticated design and exquisite craftsmanship that are hallmarks of the Tiffany Studios.

 

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