L.C. Tiffany Dragonfly Lamp Shade Watercolor and Gouache
L.C. Tiffany Dragonfly Lamp Shade Watercolor and Gouache

Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848-1933). Watercolor and gouache on paper depicting Louis Comfort Tiffany’s renowned Dragonfly Chandelier lamp shade in shades of green, blue, brown, black, red, and orange. Inscribed “D” in pencil along the upper left.

Stamped “LOUIS COMFORT TIFFANY” and signed in pencil along the lower right. Signed and inscribed “FOR MRS. FANNY SHAPIRO” along the verso. For a similar example, see accession number 2007.32 at the Minneapolis Institute of Art with the same inscription as this lot. Louis Comfort Tiffany is well known as an exemplar of fine glass making during the 19th and 20th centuries. Being the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany (American, 1812-1902), the namesake of Tiffany & Company, Louis received training as a painter and designer from some of the most reputable artists of his time in America and France. After his schooling had subsided by the 1870s, Comfort Tiffany took after his father by devoting more of his artistry towards decorative arts, glassmaking and design, notably in a style that would be a precursor to the Art Nouveau movement of the latter 19th century. Comfort Tiffany took his skill in design and craft to several entrepreneurial projects including Louis Comfort Tiffany and Associated American Artists, Tiffany Studios, and Tiffany Glass Furnaces, in addition to becoming Tiffany & Co.’s first Art Director throughout his five decades long career.

Perhaps the most defining moment in Comfort Tiffany’s life as an artist and designer came in 1894, when he revolutionized the glass making field through his creation of Favrile, a style of thick and often highly colorful iridescent sheened glass created and patented by the artist. It then becomes no surprise that Louis Comfort Tiffany’s highly detailed painting on paper of one of his most adored glass products, the Dragonfly Lamp, is painted in a painterly and sculptural manner. Through this drawing, we see the prowess of the artist and designer as a draftsman through this study of one of his Favrile lamps. His painterly admiration towards color in glass becomes apparent through this work’s glimmering green, blue, yellow, and orange tones executed in gouache and watercolor. Comfort Tiffany’s skill as a designer and craftsman impacts the artist’s practice in painting through his highly precise line work and mark making in this painting. In all, Louis Comfort Tiffany’s claim to fame as a phenomenal glassmaker was supported through the artist’s immense skills he learned as a young painter.

Height: 8 3/8 in x width: 13 5/8 in.