WINTER PARK, FL— This spring, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art turns the spotlight on the lamps of American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933) with a new installation of Lamps and Lighting—Tiffany and His Contemporaries. Opening on Tuesday, March 7, the exhibition will showcase lamps created by Tiffany Studios (1902–32) and other examples by makers of the era. Morse Members will have a first look during the Museum’s spring reception on Monday, March 6.
While Tiffany was an international success before his first lamp was even made, his signature style of lighting extended his popularity across America from the 1890s to this day. As described in a 1904 catalogue, Tiffany’s richly colorful leaded-glass lamp shades produced “the effect found in our floral and geometrical windows.”
One of more than thirty-four objects on view will be a new acquisition to the Morse collection: a workbench collected by John Dikeman (1882–1967). Dikeman was the head of the Tiffany Studios lamp department until it closed in the 1930s. His workbench and lamp form help illustrate the process used in the creation of a lamp and offer insight into the fabrication of the complex lamps produced in America. Alongside Tiffany’s works will be designs and examples by other decorating firms from the time when the rapid adoption of electricity was fueling innovations in the art of lighting.
More highlights of the refreshed exhibition include treasured objects, such as the magnificent wistaria library lamp, c. 1901, designed by Clara Driscoll (1861–1944), the head of the Women’s Glass Cutting Department at Tiffany Studios. The shade’s conventionalized floral forms and naturalistic coloration demonstrate the influence of Impressionism and Japonesque aesthetics that were popular at the time. More jewels from the Museum’s collection will be on view, including the Greek Key- and Gentian-design lampshade sample panel that offers even more insight into the lamp production process at Tiffany Studios. Workers would have used sample panels to select just the right piece of glass for lampshade patterns, an essential step to producing lamps.
The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), including the chapel interior he designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and art and architectural elements from his Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall. The Morse is owned and operated by the Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation. The Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation provides additional support. It receives no public funds. For more information about the Morse Museum, please visit morsemuseum.org.