Laurelton Hall: A Museum of Tiffany’s Own
February 22, 2012
Tiffany’s extravagant country estate, Laurelton Hall, is the last and most splendid of the several homes that the artist built and furnished during his long career. When his father died in 1902 and he received his inheritance, Tiffany, already rich, became truly wealthy and was enabled to build a palace rivaling the marvels of the East.
Laurelton Hall’s eighty-four rooms were not merely a palatial residence, Dr. Eidelberg notes, but also a showcase of the wide range of objects he and his firm had produced. In his lecture at the Morse, he will discuss Laurelton Hall as Tiffany’s self-curated museum. He will talk about the identification of many of the works, either by the way that they were marked or because they correspond to photographs that were made at the time. The objects are fascinating because they shed light on what particularly interested Tiffany in terms of colors and forms, as Dr. Eidelberg will show.
“It is as though the artist staged his own retrospective exhibition of his work, and thus they give us insight into his personal vision,” he says. “What has perhaps not been considered is why he felt the need to create this museum of his own. Although one of the most famous creative artists in America, he still had an overwhelming need to assert his claim for immortality.”
A prize-winning author of many books and articles on 20th-century decorative arts, Dr. Eidelberg is particularly interested in the arts of 1900 and was one of the pioneer scholars to rediscover the American Arts and Crafts movement. He has published widely as well on the Art Nouveau style of the era.
Especially known for his studies on Tiffany’s glass, ceramics, and lamps, Dr. Eidelberg is the co-author of Masterworks of Louis Comfort Tiffany (London and New York: Thames and Hudson and Harry N. Abrams, 1998) and Behind the Scenes of Tiffany Glassmaking: The Nash Notebooks (New York and London: St. Martin’s Press, 2001). His robust recent scholarship on Tiffany includes The Lamps of Louis C. Tiffany (New York: Vendome Press, 2005); Tiffany Favrile Glass and the Quest of Beauty (New York: Lillian Nassau LLC, 2007); A New Light on Tiffany, Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls (London: GILES in association with the New-York Historical Society, 2007); and Tiffany Favrile Pottery and the Quest of Beauty (New York: Lillian Nassau, 2010).
Dr. Eidelberg is Professor Emeritus of Art History at Rutgers University, where he taught for 38 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from Princeton University.