Louis Tiffany’s stained glass windows are presented in a new light at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
SRQ Review | October 2022
in visual arts
Tiffany Dragonfly lamp, image courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
“I like to think that there are three types of art: visual art, performing art, and what we do, which is living art,” says Jennifer Romiecki, President and CEO of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. “There really is no greater art form than nature, which is why so many world-renowned artists have used it as inspiration,” she adds. This concept will be highlighted in Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature, which will arrive at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in February 2023 as part of the next installment in the Jean and Alfred Goldstein exhibition series. This iteration of the annual exhibition series, which explores the works of major artists through their connection to nature, will focus on American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), founder of the Tiffany Studios decorative arts and first design director of his family’s iconic luxury jewelry retailer, Tiffany and Co.
Although Tiffany began her career as a painter, her name became synonymous with the Art Nouveau movement through her work – her use of the “copper foil” technique enabled her to pioneer a unique style of stained glass that featured a level of detail never seen before. in industry. This style was evident through Tiffany Studios products from their stained glass, mosaic installations, luxury items, and most notably, Tiffany lamps, which featured camed glass shades and became synonymous with all stained glass lamps, regardless of their origin of production.
“Our museum will feature samples of Tiffany’s work such as the famous lamps, a mosaic, a stained glass window and other items. Throughout the Tropical Greenhouse campus and downtown, our horticulture team will be inspired by the kaleidoscope of color in Tiffany’s work to create designs and vignettes with the flowers and foliage,” Romiecki says.
Although much of Tiffany’s work has been inspired by the natural world, many of her lampshade designs mimic flora and fauna. Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature will mark the first time that Tiffany’s work will be shown in a botanical setting. “We like to reveal surprising connections – in this case, I was rather surprised that Tiffany hadn’t been shown in a garden before because if you look at her works, they really bring out all the natural patterns,” Romiecki attests. .
Another surprising connection the exhibit will explore is the significance of the “Tiffany Girls” – an unnamed and until recently uncredited group of craftswomen who worked under Tiffany. These craftsmen were encouraged to draw inspiration from the natural world and proved instrumental in realizing Tiffany’s vision. “We want to present a new look at the artist. While Tiffany was brilliant, he also had this collaborative relationship with these phenomenally skilled female artisans. It is important to present what really happened,” Romiecki says.