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"Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Art" to Open March 23

From the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in New York

NORFOLK, Va. – (February 2011) – Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Art celebrates Louis Comfort Tiffany’s (1848-1933) revolutionary contributions to modern decorative lighting in this eye-opening exhibition organized by the renowned Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in New York. In addition to this special exhibition, visitors will enjoy the Chrysler’s extensive glass collection, which is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world, with more than 10,000 glass objects spanning 3,000 years. The Museum’s Tiffany collection is world-famous and nearly comprehensive in the area of blown glass, and also contains splendid mosaics, windows, and lamps.
This visiting show provides the first in-depth look at the Tiffany Studios’ deliberate efforts to produce lamps that balanced artistry with practicality and profitability. Few items combined usefulness and attractiveness as successfully as a Tiffany lamp. As articles of utility, reading lamps, floor lamps, and hanging shades came in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to regulate and direct light. As objects of art, the lamps, with their interplay of colored glass and richly sculpted bronze, brought beauty into the home. Whether with understated, minimal accents of color or showy, elaborate design statements, Tiffany lamps complemented just about every decorative scheme.
But this exhibition, with more than 40 stunning objects in an array of colors, sizes, and decorative styles (as well as a selection of tools, materials, and period photographs) reveals both the beauty and the bottom line, the mastery and the marketability, of Tiffany’s workmanship. As an author at the turn of the century noted, Louis Comfort Tiffany was motivated by “a desire not merely to add to the world’s beauty, but to bring beauty within reach of the public.” The five sections of this exhibition demonstrate how Tiffany achieved this goal by creating lamps that combined both function and aesthetic form.

Our exhibition starts with Creating a Tiffany Lamp, an introduction to the intricate, labor-intensive process of designing and assembling a leaded-glass lampshade. Compare lampshades of the same design to see just how radically different a design can look in different color palettes.

“Nature is Always Beautiful” highlights Tiffany’s organic aesthetic and its translation into glass. By pairing each lamp in this section with a photograph of the species it depicts, you’ll discover Tiffany’s fidelity of the design and color to nature.  And “Perfume of the Orient” illustrates how Tiffany’s designs were deeply influenced by the arts of the Near and Far East.

Could you have afforded a Tiffany lamp? Find out in A Lamp to Suit Every Environment or Purse. Since Tiffany was one of the most celebrated artists of his time, it’s easy to forget that he also ran a business. Discover how much these iconic pieces originally cost in the context of the average American’s annual income.

Changing Lighting Technologies covers the significant advancements of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.  By 1900 oil, gas, and electric lamps were all being used in the home, and in this section you’ll sample Tiffany’s various designs for each.
Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Artis organized by The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, New York. Local presentation is made possible through the generous support of SunTrust Bank.
Admission is free for Museum Members and children 12 and younger and $5 for all others.
Program Highlights

Art and Books, Wine and Cheese
Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland
Wednesday, March 16
On the third Wednesday of each month, readers gather at the Chrysler to discuss great books and enjoy light refreshments together. The club meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Museum’s Gifford Room. March’s offering is the popular historical fiction that incorporates recent research on “The Tiffany Girls.” Cost: Free for Museum Members, $5 for all others. Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Inc. has generously provided the cheese for the book club.

Art Workshop
Introduction to Leaded Glass
Saturday, April 16, 1-4 p.m.
Learn the basics of leaded glass with Newport News artist Kathy Woolridge and create a small glass mosaic to take home.  All materials are included.  $45 or $30 for Members, Enrollment limit: 20. For more information or to register, please call Alexandra Hunter at (757) 333-6268.

About The Artist
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) was one of the foremost decorative artists of his time. He began his career painting landscapes and scenes of the Near East, but branched out into the interior decoration of public buildings and private residences. Tiffany earned international attention for his leaded glass windows and lamps, glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels and metalwork.  

About the Chrysler Museum of Art
The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums with a world-class collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The Museum is located at 245 West Olney Road in Norfolk and is open Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays, noon-5 p.m. The Chrysler is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as on major holidays. Admission to the Museum’s collection is free. Special exhibitions may have an admission fee. For exhibitions, programming, and special events, visit or call 757-664-6200.

Contact Cindy Mackey

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