Until January 3rd, visitors to the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Winterthur, Delaware, have a chance to view a very special exhibition of Tiffany Stained Glass. The Museum, located on the former du Pont estate, about 45 minutes southwest of Philadelphia, is showing Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light, which features selected works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). The exhibition was organized by the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in New York City.
On view are celebrated windows, such as Grape Vine and Lemon Tree with Trellis and Well by the Fence. Both illustrate Tiffany’s mastery of “painting” with glass. Iconic lamp designs, such as Dragonfly, and florals, such as Peony, Laburnum, and Clematis, are also included. In all, 100 objects are on view, including: five windows, 19 lamps of various shapes and sizes, and 75 pieces of opalescent, flat glass from the Tiffany Studios workshop.
“The pieces were chosen for their masterful rendering of nature in flowers or landscape scenes and for the subtle use of light and shading in decorative geometric patterns,” said Lindsy Parrott, Curator of the Neustadt Collection. “They exemplify the rich and varied glass palette, sensitive color selection, and intricacy of design, so characteristic of Tiffany’s leaded-glass objects.”
The exhibition is accompanied by educational models illustrating how leaded-glass shades are fabricated, as well as examples of Tiffany lamp forgeries to explore issues of authenticity and connoisseurship. Additionally, the show highlights some of the key figures at the Tiffany Studios, who made essential contributions to the artistry of the windows and lamps: chemist Arthur J. Nash (1849-1934) and leading designers: Agnes Northrop (1857-1953), Clara Driscoll (1861-1944), and Frederick Wilson (1858-1932).
As a painter, Tiffany was captivated by the interplay of light and color, and this fascination found its most spectacular expression in his glass “paintings”. Through the medium of opalescent glass, Tiffany could capture light in color and manipulate it to achieve impressionistic effects. Using new and innovative techniques and materials, Tiffany Studios created timeless leaded-glass windows and lampshades in vibrant colors and richly varied patterns, textures, and opacities.
Dr. Ergon Neustadt, the founder of The Neustadt Collection, began acquiring Tiffany lamps in 1935. He went on to amass an almost encyclopedic collection, but perhaps his most significant acquisition came in 1967, when he purchased the flat and pressed glass left over from the closing of the Tiffany Studios in the late 1930s. The collection contains some 275,000 pieces of glass and is the only holding of its kind. With both materials and objects, The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass is uniquely positioned to fully explore Tiffany’s legacy of painting with color and light.
Supplemental Exhibition: Tiffany: The Color of Luxury …
A second, smaller exhibition, Tiffany: The Color of Luxury, is also simultaneously on view. It presents a fun, engaging look at the Tiffany name in American culture—from the iconic colors ot the relationship between the retailer, Tiffany & Co., and the artisanal Tiffany Studios. It also features approximately 100 objects, along with graphics illustrating the relationship between the Tiffany companies and the rise of modern luxury retailing in America. Jewelry, silver wedding gifts, fine stationery, and other more whimsical objects, such as silver toothpaste-tube turners and silver telephone dialers are included. Henry Francis du Pont’s own purchases from both companies, as well as a painting by Louis Comfort Tiffany from a private collection are additional highlights. From silver baubles to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the exhibition offers a glimpse into the shifting material culture of elegance and refinement.
General admission includes a tour of some of the most notable spaces in the 175-room house and access to the Garden and Galleries, special exhibitions, a weather permitting narrated tram tour, the Campbell Collection of Soup Tureens, and the Enchanted Woods children’s garden. Entry is $20 adults, $18 students & seniors, $5 for ages 2-11.
Special Lecture: “Tiffany’s ‘Gospel of Good Taste’ and the Aesthetic Revolution in American Church Design, 1877–1932” …
There is also still time to sign up for and attend the special lecture: “Tiffany’s ‘Gospel of Good Taste’ and the Aesthetic Revolution in American Church Design, 1877–1932”, being held Wednesday, December 9 at 6:00 pm in the Museum’s Copeland Lecture Hall. The presenter is Mr. Josh Probert, Ph.D., an independent historical consultant, who will explore the connection between Tiffany Studios and American churches. The lecture cost is $5 per member; $15 per nonmember; free for students with valid ID. The program includes admission to Yuletide Jazz & Wine in the Galleries Reception Atrium on that evening. Register by calling 800.448.3883.