Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass window

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection

See a collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s work at Cincinnati's Taft Museum of Art Feb. 17 through May 27. 

It would have made sense for the oldest living son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder of Tiffany & Co., to follow his father and eventually reign over the family business. But Louis Comfort Tiffany found his passion in other art forms. During his career, the artist and designer proved to be a visionary who introduced innovative techniques that shaped American interior design and decorative arts.

“His style of ‘more is more’ helped shape tastes for the eclectic, extremely ornamented style of late 19th century interiors,” says Lynne Ambrosini, deputy director and chief curator at the Taft Museum of Art.

From Feb. 17 through May 27, the Cincinnati museum will become the first venue to present “Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection.” Featuring more than 60 of the artist’s original works, the exhibition will then embark on a nationwide tour.

Tiffany created pieces that were similar to the enigmatic art nouveau movement that spread throughout Europe in the late 19th century. The iridescent pieces on display embody the creative style that set him apart from other stained-glass-makers of his time. 

“He would have many different textures simulated in the glass and then, as if he were putting together a jigsaw puzzle, he would compose with these different colors and textures to create the illusion of a seam in the window or the illusion of a plant in a stained-glass lamp,” says Ambrosini. “Sometimes seeking to get precise colors and textures, he would double, triple or even quadruple layer different types of glass.”

Tiffany’s stained-glass creations are the focal point of this traveling show, with 16 plant- and animal-form lamps, 24 blown-glass vases and seven leaded-glass windows, including the early 20th-century window “River of Life.”

“All of the objects in the exhibit are exquisite,” says Ambrosini, “but for me, the absolutely most exciting ones are the stained-glass windows.”

For more information, visit taftmuseum.org.