Tiffany jewelry

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Tiffany jewelry was the jewelry created and supervised by Louis Comfort Tiffany at Tiffany & Co., during the Art Nouveau movement.

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History

Louis Comfort Tiffany waited until after his father’s death (Charles Lewis Tiffany) in 1902 before beginning to create jewelry. On March 22, 1902, Tiffany received approval to become a member of Tiffany & Co.’s board of directors, afterwards becoming vice-president and art director. This gave Tiffany the ability to make executive choices; without being under the shadow of his father any longer, Tiffany was able to focus his creative energies on his jewelry. [1] (p73)

Tiffany began to experiment with jewelry designs in 1902 at Tiffany Furnaces, with the intent of showing his pieces as part of Tiffany & Co.’s display at the St. Louis Exposition. It was the perfect venue for him to show his range of talent in a variety of media. All the jewelry Tiffany made during this time was stamped with “Louis C. Tiffany,” along with “Artist.” [1] (p75) There are no surviving day books nor ledgers to help provide information on how Tiffany went about his jewelry prior to 1907; however his exhibit at the St. Louis Exposition provides some knowledge of his ventures. [1] (p76)

Inspiration

For many of the pieces that Tiffany produced during this time, his focus gravitated towards flower like inspirations. The nature theme was also a current motif that occurred in many of his other works. He also produced some pieces based on Etruscan prototypes. [1] (p76)

Motifs such as wild carrots, dandelions, birds and blackberries were quite common. The scarab theme was also used quite frequently as a decorative motive in his jewelry and desktop items. [2] (p122) It is noted that many of the pieces took on a very chunky appearance, reminiscent of the jewelry worn by the Celts. His work was very different from the airy, fluttery look of the Art Nouveau. [3] (p245)

Tiffany’s jewelry can be categorized into two main areas of influence, naturalism and historicism, but after further investigation it is apparent that he had many other influences, some being quite unidentifiable. [1] (p101)

Use colour and pattern

Most of Tiffany’s work has a lot of pattern, and looks busy, but his use of colour makes his work stand out from everyone else's. He uses mostly different tones of greens, blues and yellows in his glass work and lamps.

Production

Tiffany not only explored the various jewelry processes of the time, but also branched out into new metals, such as platinum, which at the time was considered very hard to manipulate. [1] (p80)

It seems to be the case that unusual colorations appealed to Tiffany, like the opal. [1] (p89) He also preferred gemstones that were either opaque or translucent. Turquoise, jade, carnelian, lapis, moonstones, and opals were all chosen for their ability to filter light. Emphasis based on color was very prevalent in his works. [1] (p110)

He devoted his first year of jewelrymaking mainly to focus towards forms and techniques, and only really began to put a collection together once he was satisfied with the fruits of his labor. [1] (p91)

Once Tiffany & Co. began to manufacture his jewelry, there was a marked evolution in his pieces. His earlier pieces went from being made in a “hand-wrought”-looking manner, to a much more symmetrical and stylized fashion. [1] (p97) There was a great variety of jewelry produced during the 26 years that Louis Tiffany's enameling and jewelry division was in operation at Tiffany & Co. It has been estimated that nearly 5,500 pieces were produced during that time, an impressive amount considering the detail and craftsmanship in each piece. [1] (p136)

He produced the same high-quality artisanship that was very much prized during the Arts and Crafts movement. [4] (p732)

Style of work

Tiffany liked to use much pattern and colour in his work, and much of his work included animals, trees and flowers.

Lasting impressions

One of the last significant pieces that Tiffany produced was a plique-à-jour gold chalice enameled with peacock feathers, which he had designed in 1925. The cup portion of it was shaped like a tulip, once again reinforcing his admiration for nature. The peacock motif, shown in many of his pieces, is thought to have been his last appeal to immortality. [1] (p160)

A Tiffany thought

Tiffany and his thoughts on artistic expression:

True art is ever progressive and impatient of fixed rules. Because a thing has always been done in a certain way is no reason why it should never be done in any other.

Related Research Articles

Jewellery Form of personal adornment

Jewellery or jewelry consists of decorative items worn for personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants, bracelets, and cufflinks. Jewellery may be attached to the body or the clothes. From a western perspective, the term is restricted to durable ornaments, excluding flowers for example. For many centuries metal such as gold used in different carats from 21, 18, 12, 9 or even lower, often combined with gemstones, has been the normal material for jewellery, but other materials such as shells and other plant materials may be used. It is one of the oldest type of archaeological artefact – with 100,000-year-old beads made from Nassarius shells thought to be the oldest known jewellery. The basic forms of jewellery vary between cultures but are often extremely long-lived; in European cultures the most common forms of jewellery listed above have persisted since ancient times, while other forms such as adornments for the nose or ankle, important in other cultures, are much less common.

Art Nouveau Style of art and architecture about 1890 to 1911

Art Nouveau is an international style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorative arts, known in different languages by different names: Jugendstil in German, Stile Liberty in Italian, Modernismo catalán in Spanish, etc. In English it is also known as the Modern Style. The style was most popular between 1890 and 1910. It was a reaction against the academic art, eclecticism and historicism of 19th century architecture and decoration. It was often inspired by natural forms such as the sinuous curves of plants and flowers. Other characteristics of Art Nouveau were a sense of dynamism and movement, often given by asymmetry or whiplash lines, and the use of modern materials, particularly iron, glass, ceramics and later concrete, to create unusual forms and larger open spaces.

Louis Comfort Tiffany American stained glass and jewelry designer

Louis Comfort Tiffany was an American artist and designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass. He is the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau and Aesthetic movements. He was affiliated with a prestigious collaborative of designers known as the Associated Artists, which included Lockwood de Forest, Candace Wheeler, and Samuel Colman. Tiffany designed stained glass windows and lamps, glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels, and metalwork. He was the first design director at his family company, Tiffany & Co., founded by his father Charles Lewis Tiffany.

Alphonse Mucha Czechoslovak photographer, painter and illustrator

Alfons Maria Mucha, known internationally as Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech painter, illustrator and graphic artist, living in Paris during the Art Nouveau period, best known for his distinctly stylized and decorative theatrical posters, particularly those of Sarah Bernhardt. He produced illustrations, advertisements, decorative panels, and designs, which became among the best-known images of the period.

Émile Gallé

Émile Gallé was a French artist and designer who worked in glass, and is considered to be one of the major innovators in the French Art Nouveau movement. He was noted for his designs of Art Nouveau glass art and Art Nouveau furniture, and was a founder of the École de Nancy or Nancy School, a movement of design in the city of Nancy, France.

Siegfried Bing

Samuel Siegfried Bing, who usually gave his name as S. Bing, was a German-French art dealer who lived in Paris as an adult, and who helped introduce Japanese art and artworks to the West and was a factor in the development of the Art Nouveau style during the late nineteenth century.

Eugène Grasset

Eugène Samuel Grasset was a Swiss decorative artist who worked in Paris, France in a variety of creative design fields during the Belle Époque. He is considered a pioneer in Art Nouveau design.

Tiffany & Co. is an American luxury jewelry and specialty retailer headquartered in New York City. It sells jewelry, sterling silver, china, crystal, stationery, fragrances, water bottles, watches, personal accessories, and leather goods. Tiffany is known for its luxury goods, particularly its diamond and sterling silver jewelry. It markets itself as an arbiter of taste and style. These goods are sold at Tiffany stores, and through direct-mail and corporate merchandising.

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, a museum noted for its art nouveau collection, houses the most comprehensive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany found anywhere, a major collection of American art pottery, and fine collections of late-19th- and early-20th-century American paintings, graphics and the decorative arts. It is located in Winter Park, Florida, USA.

Louis Majorelle French furniture maker, decorator, and artist-craftsman

Louis-Jean-Sylvestre Majorelle, usually known simply as Louis Majorelle, was a French decorator and furniture designer who manufactured his own designs, in the French tradition of the ébéniste. He was one of the outstanding designers of furniture in the Art Nouveau style, and after 1901 formally served as one of the vice-presidents of the École de Nancy.

Tiffany lamp

A Tiffany lamp is a type of lamp with a glass shade made with glass designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and his design studio. The most famous was the stained leaded glass lamp. Tiffany lamps are considered part of the Art Nouveau movement.

Laurelton Hall building in Laurel Hollow, New York, United States

Laurelton Hall was the home of noted artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, located in Laurel Hollow, Long Island, New York. The 84-room mansion on 600 acres of land, designed in the Art Nouveau mode, combined Islamic motifs with connection to nature, was completed in 1905, and housed many of Tiffany's most notable works, as well as serving as a work of art in and of itself.

Grueby Faience Company

The Grueby Faience Company, founded in 1894, was an American ceramics company that produced distinctive American art pottery vases and tiles during America's Arts and Crafts Movement.

Paulding Farnham American jewelry designer

George Paulding Farnham (1859–1927) was an American jewelry designer, sculptor and metallurgist that worked for Tiffany & Co. in the late 19th and early 20th century. Farnham married American sculptor Sally James Farnham in 1896. After leaving Tiffany & Co. in 1908, Farnham focused his interests on developing mining properties in British Columbia. He divorced Sally Farnham in 1915 and moved to California, where he died in 1927.

Art Nouveau furniture

Furniture created in the Art Nouveau style was prominent from the beginning of the 1890s to the beginning of the First World War in 1914. It characteristically used forms based on nature, such as vines, flowers and water lilies, and featured curving and undulating lines, sometimes known as the whiplash line, both in the form and the decoration. Other common characteristics were asymmetry and polychromy, achieved by inlaying different colored woods.

Alice Carmen Gouvy

Alice Carmen Gouvy was a designer at Tiffany Studios and worked closely with Clara Driscoll, the head of the Women's Glass Cutting Department.

Art Nouveau posters and graphic arts

Art Nouveau posters and graphic arts flourished and became an important vehicle of the style, thanks to the new technologies of color lithography and color printing, which allowed the creation of and distribution of the style to a vast audience in Europe, the United States and beyond. Art was no longer confined to art galleries, but could be seen on walls and illustrated magazines.

Art Nouveau in Paris

The Art Nouveau movement of architecture and design flourished in Paris from about 1895 to 1914, reaching its high point at the 1900 Paris International Exposition. with the Art Nouveau metro stations by designed Hector Guimard. It was characterized by a rejection of historicism and traditional architectural forms, and a flamboyant use of floral and vegetal designs, sinuous curving lines such as the whiplash line, and asymmetry. It was most prominent in architecture, appearing in department stores, apartment buildings, and churches; and in the decorative arts, particularly glassware, furniture, and jewelry. Besides Guimard, major artists included René Lalique in glassware, Louis Majorelle in furniture, and Alphonse Mucha in graphic arts, It spread quickly to other countries, but lost favor after 1910 and came to an end with the First World War.

Whiplash (decorative art)

The whiplash or whiplash line is a motif of decorative art and design that was particularly popular in Art Nouveau. It is an asymmetrical, sinuous line, often in an ornamental S curve, usually inspired by natural forms such as plants and flowers, which suggests dynamism and movement.. It took its name from a woven fabric panel called "Coup de Fouet" ("Whiplash") by the German artist Hermann Obrist (1895) which depicted the stems and roots of the cyclamen flower. The panel was later reproduced by the textile workshop of the Darmstadt Artists Colony.

Art Nouveau glass

Art Nouveau glass is fine glass in the Art Nouveau style. Typically the forms are undulating, sinuous and colorful art, usually inspired by natural forms. Pieces are generally larger than drinking glasses, and decorative rather than practical, other than for use as vases and lighting fittings; there is little tableware. Prominently makers, from the 1890s onwards, are in France Rene Lalique, Emile Gallé and the Daum brothers, the American Louis Comfort Tiffany, Christopher Dresser in Scotland and England, and Friedrich Zitzman, Karl Koepping and Max Ritter von Spaun in Germany. Art Nouveau glass included decorative objects, vases, lamps, and stained glass windows. It was usually made by hand, and was usually colored with metal oxides while in a molten state in a furnace.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Janet Zapata (1993). The Jewelry and Enamels of Louis Comfort Tiffany. New York: Harry N Abrams. ISBN   978-0810935068.
  2. Alistair Duncan (1992). Louis Comfort Tiffany . Library of American Art. Harry N Abrams & National Museum of American Art. ISBN   978-0810938625.
  3. Hugh F McKean (1980). The "Lost" Treasures of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1st ed.). Garden City, New York: Doubleday. ISBN   978-0385095853.
  4. Fred S Kleiner; Christin J Mamiya (2005). Gardner’s Art Through The Ages: The Western Perspective (12th ed.). Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN   978-0495004783.