Pumpkin and Beets window, 1899–1900
Laurelton Hall, Long Island, New York, 1902–57
Exhibited: Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900
Leaded glass Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, New York City, 1892–1900 44 x 56 in. (U-074)

Exhibited at the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, the Pumpkin and Beets window showcases the experimentation and ingenuity that characterized Louis Comfort Tiffany’s success in glass. Despite having creative roots in painting, Tiffany believed glass could speak just as dramatically for itself without additional embellishment. “He thought that you were sort of apologizing for glass if you made it and then painted it,” recalled Hugh F. McKean, the Museum’s first director. Here, Tiffany has painted with molten glass. Seen most acutely in the bottom section, hot, liquefied glass has been dripped like paint in intricate lines to denote vines or cracked earth, adding a contrasting sinuosity to the heavily outlined leaves and fruit. The tonal variation in such a limited color palette is remarkable. Favoring glass with mineral impurities, Louis C. Tiffany (1848–1933) was able to render shadow, form, and depth of color in exquisite detail and often used plating, the layering of glass pieces one on top of another. This window transforms garden mundanities into something truly elegant, a reminder that beauty is never far from those who play in the dirt.