Imitating Nature

Tiffany Studios Aquamarine Glass

One of the final major design innovations introduced at Tiffany Studios was Aquamarine glass. Louis Tiffany had a lifelong affinity with water; he was fond of sailing, designed several fountains, and even had a small stream meandering through the interior of his Laurelton Hall mansion. In 1913 he sent one of his gaffers, Arthur Saunders, to Bermuda to study sea life through a glass-bottom boat, which became the founding inspiration for what would become Aquamarine series. The vessels consisted of thick, green-tinted glass encasing aquatic lamp-worked glass flora or fauna and, owing to their heft and difficult annealing process, were quite expensive. Examples were priced as high as $300, the equivalent of almost $8,000 today. Aquamarine glass, pleasing to the eye and reminiscent of gazing into crystal clear water, was a critical success at the time and remains highly sought after by collectors to this day.

Tiffany Studios

Louis Comfort Tiffany, artist, innovator, and pioneer of form and color, was born in New York City in 1848.

The son of celebrated jeweler and founder of Tiffany & Co., Charles Tiffany, Louis C. Tiffany began his career as a painter in the late 1860s studying under a series of masters including George Inness and Samuel Colman. In the mid-1870s, he turned his attention away from painting and toward the family business of decorative arts and interior design. He built a strong reputation with his exemplary work, even taking part in the 1882 redecoration of the White House.

Despite being highly regarded for his interior design work, Tiffany found he was increasingly drawn to the production of art glass, working for several glass manufacturers from 1875-1878 and honing his skills in the medium that would ultimately bring him the greatest recognition. In 1881, he filed his first patent in glass production, pioneering a new method in glass-tiled mosaic design. Tiffany continued to develop his craft and, in 1885, opened an affiliated interior design company, Tiffany Glass Company, which later changed its name to Tiffany Studios. This new company specialized in the design of private interiors and public spaces, working with numerous clients including Louisine and Henry Osborne Havemeyer and the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1892, Tiffany received a patent for a new technique in glass production that would establish his place in art glass history: Favrile blown glass. Favrile glass is created by treating molten glass with metallic oxides in order to create a colored glass. Before the invention of Favrile glass, iridescent art glass was created by simply applying color, in the form of paint or enamel, over a piece of colorless glass. Tiffany displayed his Favrile glass at the 1900 Paris Exhibition where it won the Grand Prize.

In 1898, Tiffany Studios began manufacturing lighting fixtures and lamps. A year later, Tiffany added enamelwork to his firm’s repertoire, and later, ceramics. He continued to advance the use of Favrile glass, designing glass mosaics for use in interior settings, innovating as he did with new techniques of modeling, shading, and cutting. Upon his father's death in 1902, Tiffany assumed the roles of Vice-president and Art Director of Tiffany & Co. He watched the company’s bottom line fastidiously, ending production of any item that went unsold for one year.

No amount of careful accounting could safeguard Tiffany Studios against the shift in public taste during the 1920s. The scrolls and natural curves so integral to Tiffany’s designs gave way to the right angles of Modernism. Tiffany Studios declared bankruptcy in 1932. Louis C. Tiffany died a year later, personally bankrupt and in relative obscurity. That obscurity was not to last; scholars rediscovered Tiffany’s work in the 1950s, followed by the art market a decade later.

Today, works by Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios are highly sought after in the modern art market, with collectors valuing them for their high production quality, intricate and nature-inspired designs, and stunning use of colored glass.

Auction Results Tiffany Studios

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Rare Lobster and Crab box, model 8839 | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Rare Lobster and Crab box, model 8839
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $87,500

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Tulip table lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Tulip table lamp
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $56,250

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Fine and rare Old English heraldic table lamp on base | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Fine and rare Old English heraldic table lamp on base
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $36,250

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Twelve-light Lily table lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Twelve-light Lily table lamp
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $26,250

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Rare and early Favrile turtleback lantern | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Rare and early Favrile turtleback lantern
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $26,250

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Large Favrile peacock feather vase | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Large Favrile peacock feather vase
estimate: $4,500–6,500
result: $21,250

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Spider table lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Spider table lamp
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $20,480

TIFFANY STUDIOS, vase | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

vase
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $18,750

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Ten-light Lily table lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Ten-light Lily table lamp
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $16,250

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Rare Aquamarine vase | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Rare Aquamarine vase
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $12,500

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Fine early desk lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Fine early desk lamp
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,625

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Fine early desk lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Fine early desk lamp
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,000

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Nautilus desk lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Nautilus desk lamp
estimate: $6,000–9,000
result: $10,000

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Swirling Leaf table lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Swirling Leaf table lamp
estimate: $8,000–12,000
result: $9,375

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Small special order Favrile vase | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Small special order Favrile vase
estimate: $1,250–1,750
result: $9,375

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Holden table lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Holden table lamp
estimate: $6,000–9,000
result: $8,750

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Urn-shaped table lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Urn-shaped table lamp
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,125

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Moss Green Favrile Pottery vase with water lilies | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Moss Green Favrile Pottery vase with water lilies
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,125

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Favrile Pottery bud vase with leaves | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Favrile Pottery bud vase with leaves
estimate: $1,500–2,000
result: $7,500

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Fine and rare adjustable height desk lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Fine and rare adjustable height desk lamp
estimate: $4,500–5,500
result: $7,500

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Fine and rare Favrile Wave pattern lamp | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Fine and rare Favrile Wave pattern lamp
estimate: $6,000–9,000
result: $7,500

EDITH LAUTRUP FOR TIFFANY STUDIOS, Fine Favrile pottery vase | ragoarts.com

Edith Lautrup for Tiffany Studios

Fine Favrile pottery vase
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $6,875

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Favrile pottery artichoke vase | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Favrile pottery artichoke vase
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $6,875

TIFFANY STUDIOS, Fine large Favrile Bronze Pottery vase | ragoarts.com

Tiffany Studios

Fine large Favrile Bronze Pottery vase
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $6,875