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Jan. 6 Art Minute: Tiffany Furnaces, Louise Comfort TIffany, designer, Vase

Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Art Museum, Toledo Museum
Tiffany Furnaces (Corona, New York), Louise Comfort Tiffany, designer (American, 1848-1933), Vase. Glass, blown, probably 1913. Gift of Helen and Harold McMaster, 1986.62

As artist, designer, and tastemaker, Louis Comfort Tiffany altered the course of American decorative arts in many fields, including stained glass, decorative mosaic, and blown glass. Under the direction of English glassmaker Arthur J. Nash (1849–1934), the glassblowers of Tiffany's glass company created organically inspired vessels with lustrous surfaces. The iridescent glass was produced by putting metal oxides on or in the glass and then putting the glass through an oxygen reduction process. The variation in color is the result of different thicknesses of the metallic layer. Tiffany trademarked the name "Favrile"–derived from the Latin root related to fabricating by hand–for all of the company's glass. 

Tiffany's love for the natural world is evoked in the pansy-inspired vase. The flower's edge is textured with fine lines and crackles that suggest living plant tissue, as the undulating surface of the trumpet shape maximizes the effects of light on the colorful iridescent glass. 

This work is currently on view in the Glass Pavilion.