Louis Comfort Tiffany is the namesake of former General Louis Comfort Tiffany. Louis Comfort Tiffany had been the firstborn son of Charles Lewis Tiffany and Harriet Young, founder of the Tiffany & Co. Although he attended both the Army and Pennsylvania Academy of Art as a young boy and teenager, he was quickly drawn to the decorative arts, perhaps due to his early exposure to both the fine and antique arts via his father’s business. From this position in time he created his own art studio in Philadelphia, where he became known for his colorful, whimsical paintings and lamps.
Louis Comfort Tiffany began designing lamps and other decorative items around the mid-1800s. The first of these pieces to bear his name were tiny desk lamps which he designed for his mother. Following his retirement from the industry, he traveled to France, where he purchased a large number of lanterns that were used in churches, city buildings and homes throughout Europe. These lamps, along with lanterns from the London Stock Exchange, formed the basis for the Tiffany glass lamp. His first design director was Aaron Montgomery Ward, who he hired to oversee the production of his lamps.
Louis Comfort Tiffany continued to travel to Europe for many years, visiting various artisans, hoping to secure further contracts. He eventually established a manufacturing company in New York City, which he named after his birthplace. His son, Aaron, continued his father’s work, designing and selling Tiffany lamps for the company. In appreciation of their father’s efforts, both of them established the Tiffany lamp museum in New York City to showcase the company’s past glories.
Louis Comfort Tiffany never received monetary compensation for his contributions to the decorative arts. Much of his income went towards purchasing large quantities of raw materials and building structures that would supply the rooms of his new offices in New York City. His designs for interior design of churches, offices and other public buildings are also well known, though they received less reverence than those for his lighting fixtures. The interior of these buildings was often decorated by skilled craftsmen, whose talent was appreciated by the Louis himself. He did receive some payment for these jobs, but the majority of it was provided to establish a school for teaching interior design in New York City.
It was whilst Louis Comfort was living in New York City that he began to create some of his most famous stained glass pieces. Most notable of which are The American Eagle, The Double Heart and The Singing Ringing Tree. All of which were created between Februrary 18th and march 19th. Though his work had been showcased in many American museums before his death, none of these pieces of art had been shown in the famed Tiffany lamp show in New York City until this point in time.
In 1871, during the height of his career as an American artist, Louis Comfort Tiffany began working in the studios of Edwin Landemiller and Richard Woolworth. These two talented artists hired him as an assistant, to help them work on their design ideas for new stained glass pieces that would be exhibited in the famous New York City’s New York Art galleries. During this time, they allowed him to paint various decorative arts for them from their studios, including The Singing Ringing Tree, The American Eagle and The Double Heart.
In order to see the progress that they had made on the glassmaking machines, they commissioned him to make some glassworks for them, which he declined. However, when they hired an artist, Frank Lloyd Wright, to oversee the renovation of their entire factory, he asked Louis comfort to become involved. Louis comfort was happy to help them renovate and turn the old factory into a modern glass manufacturing facility, which they named the Tiffany & Co. He became very popular with the workers due to his unique paintings, which were mainly oil paintings, but also included sketches and designs. He was also a skilled designer, who designed their store branding.
He also worked with renowned artists such as Matisse, Warhol andez, during this time. Though he quit his job at the New York Stock Exchange because of a dispute with the boss, he continued to paint, producing art for his friends, until he was fired by them in february 18th. He moved to Nantucket permanently and opened his own studio there, which is where he met his lifelong lover, Ellen Tracy. Though divorces had occurred between them before, they remained good friends, and later, Ellen Tracy moved to New York City, settling there with her brother. Louis Comfort Tiffany passed away in nyc, in january of nineteen twenty-first, following a brief illness.