© Connecticut Explored Inc. Winter 2018-2019
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Louis Comfort Tiffany was one of the most creative and versatile American artists of the late 19thand early 20th centuries. He is perhaps best known for his brilliant innovations in glass. In fall 2018 the Lyman Allyn Art Museum opened a new permanent gallery devoted to his work and his Connecticut connections. Louis Comfort Tiffany in New London showcases around 100 fine- and decorative-arts objects from different phases of Tiffany’s career that illustrate his enduring legacy in the region.
Of particular note are three newly conserved leaded-glass windows, including the St. Cecilia window (above), made by his company Tiffany Studios around 1917. It is one of two windows on long-term loan from the Palmer Mausoleum in New London’s Cedar Grove Cemetery. Also on view is Tiffany Studios’s Come Unto Me window from 1924, acquired by the museum from New London’s All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in 2014.
Tiffany was born in New York City in 1848 to parents who were both from eastern Connecticut. Throughout his life he often visited relatives in Killingly, Norwich, and New London. He met and married his first wife, Mary Woodbridge Goddard, in Norwich. In the late 1870s his sister, Annie, and her husband, Alfred Mitchell, rented and then acquired property (now Mitchell College) in New London for a summer home that became another frequent destination.
Charles Lewis Tiffany, Louis’s father, co-founded and ran the prestigious silver and jewelry firm Tiffany & Company, but his son followed his own path as an artist and designer. Starting his career as a painter, Louis shifted to interior design and then to a focus on glass. He and craftsmen he employed developed new glass formulas with subtle combinations of color, iridescent surfaces, and a wider range of textures and finish than had previously existed.
Louis Comfort Tiffany in New London celebrates the artist’s life-long quest for beauty, exploring his Connecticut family connections and his patronage in the region.
Tanya Pohrt is special project curator, American art, at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum.
Louis Comfort Tiffany in New London
Lyman Allyn Art Museum, 625 Williams Street, New London
Interior, 1881 – 1882, designed by L. C. Tiffany and Associated Artists
The Mark Twain House & Museum, 351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford
Tiffany windows may be found in churches and libraries across Connecticut, including Buley Library, Southern Connecticut State University (donated by First Church of Christ, New Haven).
Grating the Nutmeg Episode 67: Louis Comfort Tiffany in New London