The Illuminated Vision—Tiffany Lamps and Lighting
February 04, 2003 through January 09, 2005
Louis Comfort Tiffany was a designer of extraordinary range and versatility, and yet it was his unique vision for lighting that secured his broadest popularity a hundred years ago and is largely responsible for his continued celebrity today.
This installation of more than 40 Tiffany lamps represents the museum’s most comprehensive exhibition of Tiffany lamps and lighting from its permanent collection. Taken together, the lamps illustrate Tiffany’s visually dramatic and innovative design achievement in an era when electric light was poised to revolutionize the way we see. They include examples of rare and prize-winning designs; selections made for his own home, Laurelton Hall; and lamps of virtually every sort: table or desktop, standing, hanging and wall-mounted. Original Tiffany Studios lamp catalogues, watercolor designs, archival photographs, prints from glass-plate negatives, flat lamp-shade sample pattern displays, and models showing phases of lamp fabrication further illuminate Tiffany’s vast and fabulously successful enterprise. In his lamps, Tiffany’s fascination with color, nature and light coalesced and through them he gave many Americans an opportunity to join in his own obsessive “pursuit of beauty.”