Tiffany glassware at Musée du Luxembourg, Paris

16 september - 17 january 2010, Musee du Luxembourg

Louis Comfort Tiffany is born in 1848. His father, Charles Tiffany, founder of the dynasty, the great human family, already sells luxury objects of all kinds, crystal, china, silverware, clocks, lamps and jewelry that soon will the already famousg. Wear a ring, a necklace, Tiffany necklace is proof of good taste. The third child of Charles and Harriet Olivia Lewis, Louis Comfort spends his early years with the New-Ork jet-set of that time. He learns in the best schools, and when, 17 years old, he left the Eagleswood Military Academy in Perth Amboy, New Jersey in 1865, the Civil War has just ended. The unit is made, the conquest of the West is finished, trains now cross the country from coast to coast and back, and from north to south with the regularity of good work horses, a new era begins : business era. The major corporations are activated, oil, copper, steel, sugar, engineering, industry, railways, food, trade, finance. Famous families are already known, Morgan, Whitney, Guggenheim, Bruce Widener, Astor, Frick, Havemeyer, Rockefeller built empires. Tiffany's father moved the shop from its beginnings in lower Manhattan to live on Fifth Avenue. A native of Connecticut, Charles started at the age of 15 years as a salesman in his father's shop. Ten years later, a loan of 1000 dollars in his pocket, he creates his own boutique in New York. Success-Now. The success seems easy in those days. They import jewelry from Europe, make themselves, and soon gathered the largest collection of gemstones with culminating purchase of diamonds from Queen Marie-Antoinette and part of the crown jewels of France. The young Louis sees this splendor with interest, but takes its time to choose his path. Soon he shows a little talent. A student of George Inness, landscape painter, and Samuel Colman, founder of the League of watercolor, his nature is to painting bucolic and orientalist. Taste that worsened in Paris under the leadership of Leon Charles Bailly which he studied for two years (1868-1869). In London, where his father has just opened a branch, he is seduced by Japanese art, but finds especially Pre-Raphaelites Burne-Jones and William Morris, who preach the fusion of fine arts with applied arts and industrial-inspired Middle Ages. He continues to paint succesfully. Returning to the United States, he exhibited his paintings in Philadelphia, then to Paris for the Universal Exhibition of 1878. His father arranged for him a small studio. The public who see the treasures of the "largest jeweler in the world" is a circuit in the Annex son who, at age 30, did not disdain the support of Dad. But Louis already knows he will never be a great painter, he is not innovative enough. The Century turn out without him. The Impressionists prance ahead and will soon face classic. Van Gogh is about to die, Toulouse-Lautrec already haunts the taverns, Gauguin dreams about the Marquesas, Cézanne has opened up new worlds, beasts about to spit their rage , crushing all pure colors out of their tubes ... And then, two young men named Braque and Picasso will appear around "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon ... While paintings and watercolors by Louis Comfort Tiffany'm charming with their trees and nice houses ... not enough to revolutionize the world of art! It will therefore continue to paint his entire life but only for him. Nevertheless, he wants to create art for the public, integrating art into everyday life and the built environment, proving that decorative arts are on the same level as the paintings. His encounter with the glass has long been upset. He feels a shock in front of the medieval rose windows of Chartres Cathedral.  He wrote about it: "The old glass, as used in the windows of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, particularly fascinated me. These windows are for me the embodiment of perfect beauty. " So, he will decorator designer. Back to New York, he created his company, Louis C. Tiffany and Company Associated Artists, which employs many chemists and physicists creators glass specialists. He founded his own glass factory in Long Island and patented his process of a glass "Favrile" (handmade), kind of prism of light that diffuses the colors of the rainbow sky.
He decorated homes in eastern richly paved with glazed tiles, ceramics glittering panels of colored glass. Also the dining room of the pageantry of White House. Behold famous. Rich, he was already. Orders from affluent congregations who want to "revamp" their churches and chapels. And also from the-billionaires. In visiting the residence Havemeyer, the sugar magnate, the French dealer and gallery owner Samuel Bing was dazzled. He spends an exclusive contract with Louis Tiffany to distribute its drinks in Europe. Following a period of intense production, including the series of vases Tiffany "Favrile glass. His exhibition at the Salon in December 1895 organized by Bing is considered the "Manifesto of the Art Nouveau": its blown glass, vases and windows designed by the fashionable painters, Bonnard, Serusier, Toulouse-Lautrec, Vuillard and Vallotton him bring the dedication that he hoped European. French museums rush and bought almost everything. Bing, who has a sense of Commerce, organizes exhibitions of works by Tiffany usually exhibited in his gallery aptly called "Art Nouveau". He lends to museums or foreign companies. They will operate well throughout Europe, London, Vienna, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Zurich ... In 1900 the Tiffany rating has nothing to envy to those of renowned painters of the time. It became fashionable. Soon all self-respecting billionaire, during a visit to Paris, must go for a walk in the gallery of Mr. Bing and out of the mud with his or her Tiffany lamp in hand, not without having previously jettisoned a small fortune to acquire. This is the first time in American art requires the old Europe. We raced, it ignites, we talk about it "the most extravagant and most exquisitely beautiful objects ever produced by the hand of man"! Up to him, America will cease to watch the Old World over the ocean, for fashion, aesthetics, art, cooking and good manners. With him in the late twentieth century, national identity is emerging. Charles, the father very patient and very caring who despaired of his heir so little attention lately by the firm Tiffany, died in 1902. Louis took his chair. It will differ from the paternal idea by creating a new concept: the jewel sublimate without gold or precious stones, the jewelry handmade with simple materials less noble and becomes more artistically valuable. If the market window is limited, the everyday objects and decorative is infinite and vases, lamps, table utensils, toiletries products in addition to traditional Tiffany. He endorsed the idea of Wales embellish each home a work of art. Tiffany Studios used its theater to its glory. It gives such a party by reviving Egyptian queen Cleopatra in front 300 guests. Then during his 68 years a masquerade modestly entitled "Quest for beauty in the midst of a retrospective of his works. His travels are interspersed with long stays in his big house on Long Island for that  He has taken a compulsive passion. It is a kind of palaces of the Thousand and One Nights to the extent of his imagination. It will  the last twenty years of his life to play the landscapers.  He died January 17, 1933, to 84 years. The Tiffany Studios Corporation 391 Madison Avenue in 1938 will disappear. The crisis that has swept America also won the firm with her. In any event his art has already surpassed the Formica arrives. After long disgrace, its objects have now returned in full light. Proof: Barbra Streisand, Brad Pitt and others are takers and collect. The world is now mad Tiffany.

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