Delaware Art Museum’s Tiffany exhibit offers glimpse into ‘the Golden Age’ – Town Square Delaware LIVE

Light emitted from small holes in a Tiffany wisteria shade casts shadows on a wall in the Delaware Art Museum.

If you’re dazzled by the setting of HBO’s “The Gilded Age,” you can get a taste of what was included in the Delaware Art Museum’s new Tiffany Glass exhibit.

The lean, stripped-down show lets the 60 exhibits spread out and speak for themselves.

It also allows viewers to get close enough to see the mastery of the artwork, which includes layered glass, rocks and encrusted pieces of glass, and overlapping welded pieces that create a depth you wouldn’t expect. you may have never noticed.

“Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection” opened Friday and will run through June 5.

It was supposed to open in 2020, but was postponed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, said Dr. Heather Campbell Coyle, chief curator and curator of American art. It was taken from the massive collection of the late Richard H. Driehaus of Chicago.

The theme of the exhibition is Tiffany’s love for nature, which runs through the pieces, and their innovative approaches. Those on display include huge stained glass windows, flower-like vases, and household items such as inkwells.

Louis Comfort Tiffany was the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, who founded the famous jewelry and silverware store.

Louis Comfort studied art at the National Academy of Design and focused on interior design. He would go on to create rooms for many families in the Golden Age, which was largely the 1880s as industrialization and new wealth descended on New York.

The clash of old and new monetary families forms the backdrop for HBO’s “The Gilded Age,” which many people consider America’s “Downton Abbey” because it was created by the same person, Julian Fellowes. Coyle said she liked watching it.

Delaware Museum of Art's Tiffany Exhibit

Tiffany didn’t just sell lamps and windows. He also sold vases and other home decorations.

Tiffany’s interest in interior design led her to take an interest in stained glass. At that time, stained glass was usually created by putting color on the outside of the clear class. Tiffany became famous for embedding color into glass before it was blown or cut into shapes.

Even then, however, artists were still required to paint people’s faces on glass, Coyle said.

She said she didn’t realize until she helped unbox the exhibits how beautiful the metal work of the lamp bases themselves were, as they are so often overshadowed by the showy lampshades.

There was such demand for Tiffany’s work that her greenhouse in Queens grew to include teams of people, including women, who would create pieces. They have lived through the days of gas lighting and electric lighting, and many of the lampshades and bases reflect their date of creation.

His work will be found in churches and other religious places as well as in public spaces.

Some of Tiffany’s work would be custom commissioned for a one-of-a-kind piece. But Tiffany also had plenty of pieces people could browse and buy off the shelf, Coyle said.

One of them went to Delaware.


Tiffany’s geometric window included classy built-in chucks and raised elements that are not apparent at first glance.

Wilmington industrialist Samuel Bancroft and his wife, Mary, wanted a window for their home, where they were creating an interior to show off their growing art collection, which focused on the Pre-Raphaelites.

They chose a piece called Spring and Autumn and asked the studio to create a heather rose border to mirror a grove of heather roses in their Edward Burnes-Jones painting “The Council House”.

Bancroft’s heirs donated the window to the Delaware Art Museum, where it is often displayed and is now featured as the final piece in the Tiffany exhibit. Bancroft’s Pre-Raphaelite paintings have become one of the Delaware Art Museum’s signature collections.

Nature appears in the exhibition in the form of flowers and insects visible in the familiar lampshades and windows, but also in the form of drooping lilies in the Lily 18-light table lamp, a gold table lamp Fish and Wave which evokes the feel of Japanese prints, and the centerpiece “Landscape Window” which shows trees on a hill.

The geometric window, which alludes to the coming craze for abstraction in the art world, is meant to mimic a Persian rug. Viewed from an acute side angle, it is easy to see some of the techniques Tiffany used on the windows.

Tiffany Studios has also produced work by outside artists, including Howard Pyle of Delaware.

The dawn of modern style in the 1920s and the Great Depression heralded the downfall of Tiffany Studios, which went bankrupt in 1932. By the mid-1900s, however, his work was once again popular, with people scrambling to buy originals and companies removing styles. for much less.

The museum offers free tours of the exhibition at 2:15 p.m. Sunday through June, except Easter.

Other related events include a performance by the Pyxis Piano Trio on March 31 featuring music from the early 20th century; a members’ evening on April 1; A Spring Happy Hour Preview and Lecture by Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 29; and a brunch at Tiffany’s on May 14 that includes brunch bites and morning cocktails.

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Mildred D. Field