Tiffany's love of nature inspires exhibition from the Chrysler Museum of Art's collection

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Tiffany's love of nature inspires exhibition from the Chrysler Museum of Art's collection
Tiffany Studios (New York), Dragonfly Library Lamp, ca. 1905–10 Leaded glass; cast bronze Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.

NORFOLK, VA.- The Chrysler Museum of Art presents The Natural Beauty of Tiffany: Selections from the Chrysler Museum August 18 to December 30, 2012. Admission is free.

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), one of America’s best known businessmen and most talented artists, directed an artistic empire in the design and creation of stunning leaded glass windows and lamps, blown glass vessels, mosaics, and other objects of luxury. Tiffany found great beauty in the natural world—the primary inspiration for his paintings and decorative work in metal, pottery, and glass. This exhibition presents many of the Museum’s finest examples of his work inspired by flora and fauna.

"Louis Comfort Tiffany was deeply moved by the complex beauty found in nature,” said Kelly Conway, the Carolyn and Richard Barry curator of glass. “He created an idyllic landscape at his home on Long Island, with many exotic species of plants and flowers. This exhibition features some of Tiffany Studios' unique interpretations of flowers, vegetation, marine life and other natural elements, executed in glass, ceramics, and bronze."

Highlights of the exhibition include a garden of blown glass flowers, unique examples of ceramics and enamels, and some of the rarest and most expensive lamps known—the glorious blue Dragonfly and Pond Lily library lamps. The works of art are all from the Chrysler Museum’s world-famous Tiffany collection, which is nearly comprehensive in the area of blown glass and also includes mosaics, windows and lamps.

"We are diligently packing up our entire glass collection in preparation for an exciting new renovation of the galleries,” added Conway. “However, it was very important to us to keep a selection of our greatest Tiffany treasures on view for visitors. It is always good to see our favorite objects in a new light, and this exhibition gives us an opportunity to appreciate the artistic inspiration found in nature."

The Chrysler Museum of Art holds one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of glass in the world, with more than 10,000 glass objects spanning 3,000 years. The foundations of the collection were established by the early 1950s with a significant bequest of New England Glass Company glasses from the estate of Norfolk resident Florence Smith. In 1971, Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. donated more than 8,000 works of glass to the Museum, establishing the collection as a place of pilgrimage for glass scholars and enthusiasts. Major gifts of English cameo, 20th-century Italian, and contemporary glass continue to diversify and strengthen the collection well into the 21st century.

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