Louis Comfort Tiffany as a Modern Painter

By Roberta A. Mayer

Louis Comfort Tiffany is best known for his innovative decorative glass and his role as a fashionable Gilded Age tastemaker for wealthy clients like Helen Gould, but his career began and ended with painting. In fact, his paintings first established his reputation as an artist and he exhibited hundreds of his canvases and watercolors during his lifetime. Yet, Tiffany’s paintings have been far less studied than any other aspects of his artistic career, and they offer some surprising insights when viewed with a fresh perspective. The late scholar, Robert Koch referred to Tiffany as a “rebel in glass”, but his early paintings also displayed rebellious tendencies, wide-ranging interests, and artistic experimentation.

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