Louis C. Tiffany and the Art of Devotion

An interesting look into another side of Louis C. Tiffany and his overwhelmingly intricate stained glass work is being highlighted at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City. Louis C. Tiffany and the Art of Devotion considers the array of church decorations and memorials that Louis C. Tiffany (1848-1933) produced beginning in the early 1880s.

For 50 years, working under a variety of company names, Tiffany oversaw production and marketing of a vast assortment of decorative elements for many of America’s leading congregations—Protestant, Catholic and Jewish. Tiffany employed designers, draftsmen, and craftspeople who produced decorative wall treatments, mosaic floors, lighting, furniture, altarpieces, pulpits, candlesticks, and liturgical vestments. A large component of the business of religious art also consisted of funerary memorials that ranged from simple bronze tablets and single headstones to leaded-glass windows and fully decorated mausolea. Works in many media—marble, glass, wood, metal, and fabric—could be had “off the rack” with minimal personalization or as one-of-a-kind commissions, designed exclusively for a particular patron.

The success of Tiffany’s vision—measured in part by his phenomenal amount of production through his long career—was due not only to the quality and variety of the work, but to his ambitious advertising campaigns. Through a combination of showroom displays, sales catalogs, press releases, luxurious illustrated pamphlets, and installations made for national and international expositions, Tiffany marketed his designs to the public and clients alike. Through these various outlets, high-quality church and memorial designs became synonymous with his signature brand, Tiffany Studios.

Louis C. Tiffany and the Art of Devotion considers the breadth and depth of the firm’s collection, and the place Tiffany Studios created for itself in American religious art. Featuring the leaded-glass windows most often associated with Tiffany, as well as mosaics, watercolor sketches of windows, interiors and ecclesiastic furniture, and archival photographs, the exhibition shows how Tiffany continued the grand tradition of religious art, transforming it to suit an American audience.

This exhibition is a must see for any Tiffany devotee and is a lesson in finding the Arts and Crafts movement in every aspect of our lives. The exhibition runs though January 20th, 2013. For more information visit www.mobia.org.

Check back next week as we update you on some major Metalware news and an impressive new exhibit featuring some of our favorite Roycroft Renaissance Artisans.