A master of nearly every medium he turned his hand to, Louis Comfort Tiffany was at the helm of several different firms bearing his name over the course of his five-decade long career in the fine and decorative arts.
Tiffany's various artistic enterprises took shape in the late the 1870s when he formed Louis C. Tiffany & Company, designing artistic interiors and bespoke furniture in the Aesthetic taste for some of the wealthiest and most intriguing members of New York's Gilded Age society, including Henry Osborne Havemeyer, George Kemp, Ogden Goelet, Mark Twain and other luminaries - Tiffany even earned the commission from President Chester A. Arthur to decorate the interior of the White House in 1882. Though it is unclear when he first began to experiment with the medium, glass began to appear in his innovative "artistic house furnishings" in these rarified interiors. He embedded leaded glass panels into richly carved items of furniture as well as larger architectural panels of patterned motifs, as in his 1880 commission with Candace Wheeler for the Union League Club and a monumental panel for the White House, now lost. Tiffany began to design more pictorial compositions into the 1880s, frequently depicting flora and fauna, and later landscapes, in leaded glass.
Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company
Word of mouth led to rising demand for "Tiffany Windows" and the creation of Tiffany Glass Company and later Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. Though these early works were fabricated using purchased panels of flat glass, the commercial glass manufacturers could not produce the textural and visual effects that Louis Comfort Tiffany desired. To achieve his artistic vision, Tiffany scoured the globe to find the finest scientists, chemists and glassblowers, and in the early 1890s he brought them together to form the Stourbridge Glass Company in Corona, Queens, the beginning of a large custom manufacturing complex that would stand at the center of his design empire.
A series of successful showings at World's Fairs - in which Tiffany and his designers raked in Grand Prix nearly every year they exhibited - only allowed Tiffany's business to further flourish, and by late 1902 he had established the company for which he is best known today: Tiffany Studios.
Tiffany and the numerous experienced designers and craftspeople he employed at Tiffany Studios (and later Louis C. Tiffany Furnaces) designed and produced some of the most iconic examples of American design at the turn of the twentieth century. In addition to popular leaded glass Tiffany Lamps like the Dragonfly and the Wisteria, the company produced thousands of masterful Tiffany Windows as well as as the architectural Favrile Glass Mosaics installed in public and private buildings across the United States. Though less widely known, Tiffany and his artisans were responsible for a number of technical innovations in both blown glass and enameling, often the results of costly experiments undertaken to achieve the visual effect desired by Tiffany.
Distinguished by high quality and design, most of the objects and fancy goods produced by Tiffany Studios were considered luxury items, though the company made great efforts to appeal to many levels of the market in their product line.
Tiffany became the gold standard in the field of American Design until the early 1930’s when the companies closed and ceased production following Louis Comfort Tiffany's death in early 1933.