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Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848-1933)
Near Amalfi, Italy, c. 1873
Oil on composition panel, 7-3/4 x 12-1/4 in. (uneven)
Signed and dated at lower left: Louis C. Tiffany '73 (or '78).
August Heckscher Collection.  1959.67

About This Work

Primarily known for his glass and decorative work, Louis Comfort Tiffany painted in oil and watercolor throughout his long career. His early studies in New York were followed by a period in the studio of Leon Belly, a painter of Islamic genre scenes, in Paris. Always drawn to the exotic, Tiffany traveled and painted in Europe and North Africa. Near Amalfi, Italy is quite typical of his work, an intimate and picturesque genre scene, strongly lit, and painterly in execution. In 1879, Tiffany turned to interior decoration. He and several other fine and decorative artists joined together to produce decorative work such as tiles, glass, and textiles. Subsequently he focused his attention more exclusively on glass and other decorative objects. He patented a process for manufacturing iridescent Favrile glass bowls and vases, and he produced the lamps and windows for which he is best known today. In 1905, Tiffany built Laurelton Hall, an 85-room mansion on 850 acres overlooking Cold Spring Harbor (destroyed by fire in 1957). By the time of his death in 1933, Tiffany's art nouveau aesthetic had been overshadowed by Bauhaus modernism, and interest in his glass did not reemerge until the 1950s. Tiffany was the son of Charles L. Tiffany, founder of the New York jewelry store.


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