Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Art

October 9, 2010 - January 23, 2011

Opening Reception - Celebrate in style!
Friday, October 8, 2010 - 5:30 - 8 p.m.
$10 Members/$20 Non-Members
Enjoy hors d'oeuvres, refreshments, music and more!

This exhibition of more than forty stunning objects in an array of colors, sizes and decorative styles celebrates Louis Comfort Tiffany's (1848-1933) revolutionary contributions to modern decorative lighting. Organized by The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in New York City, this exhibition presents the first in-depth look at the Tiffany Studios' deliberate efforts to produce lamps that balance artistry with utility and profitability. Some of Tiffany' Studios' most iconic lamps including the Dragonfly, Peacock, Wisteria, Pnd Lily, Daffodil and Peony, among othes, will be on display. The show also includes tools, materials and period photographs to enhance the viewer's appreciation of the objects by demonstrating how they were made.

The show is arranged in five sections: Creating a Tiffany Lamp, introduces you to the intricate, labor-intensive process of designing and assembling a leaded glass lampshade; Nature is Always Beautiful, highlights Tiffany's nature-based aesthetic and its translation into glass; Perfume of the Orient, illustrates that Tiffany's vocabulary was also deeply informed by the arts of the Near and Far East; A Lamp to Suit Every Environment or Purse, explores the economics of Tiffany's lamps including the original costs in relation to average household incomes; Changing Lighting Technologies, considers the significant advancements made in lighting during the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centures.

Tiffany's lamps are an innovative and successful combination of usefulness and beauty. As articles of utility, reading lamps, floor lamps, and hanging shades came in a wide variety of sizes and shapes to regulate and direct light. As objects of art, the lamps, with their interplay of colored glass and richly sculpted bronze, brought beauty into the home. Whether understated, minimal accents of color or showy, elaborate design statements, Tiffany lamps complimented a diversity of decorative schemes. by creating lamps as object sof both utility and art, Louis Comfort Tiffany realized his goal of making beautiful objects accesible to the public.

As the recent popularity of Tiffany exhibitions assests, the beauty of the objects alone commands broad appeal. These magnificent works afre no exception. Scott Schweigert, Curator of Art and Civilization at the Museum remarked that, "anyone stepping into a gallery illuminated by a group of Tiffany lamps cannot help but be impressed by their beauty and seduced by their spectacular jewel-like qualities." In addition, this exhibition offers a new dimension by placing these exquisite lamps in historical context. By examining fabrication, modes of inspiration and the relationship of design to pricing and production, a new chapter is added to the story of Tiffany lamps. The varying components of this exhibition will provide a memorable and meaningful experience for the casual museum visitor as well as the seasoned Tiffany enthusiast.

This dazzling exhibition has been on tour over the past two years with stops at the Nassau County Museum of art, Roslyn, NY; Flint Institute of Art, MI; and, after its run here, will continue to the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA.

This exhibition is underwritten by the Marlin and Ginger Miller Exhibition Endowment. The Reading Public Museum is supported in part by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.Additional support for this exhibition is provided by Pook & Pook, Inc., Lamar Advertising and the Reading Eagle Company.

To listen to WRTI "Creatively Speaking" segment for this exhibition, click here (MP3)

To watch a 30-second TV spot for this exhibition, click here (You Tube)

To watch the Gallery video presentation for this exhibition, click here (You Tube)

To watch a Comcast Newsmakers interview for this exhibition, click here. (YouTube)


Related Programming

Tiffany Lecture Series

Saturday, October 16 at 2:00 p.m.
"Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls" by Martin Eidelberg, Ph.D., Tiffany scholar

While Louis C. Tiffany was the artistic genius behind the creative endeavors of Tiffany Studios, the discovery of a cache of correspondence written by Clara Driscoll, head of the Women's Glass Cutting Department, has revealed the substantial role of the women who labored anonymously to create Tiffany's masterpieces.

Saturday, November 13 at 2:00 p.m
"Tiffany as Painter" by Scott Schweigert, Reading Public Museum Curator of Art & Civilization

Although better known for his successes in the decorative arts including stained glass, mosaics, pottery and Favrile glass, Louis C.Tiffany began his career as a traditionally trained painter. By age 19, he was exhibiting at New York's prestigious National Academy of Design, having spent time training with renowned American painter George Inness (1825-1894) and landscape artist Samuel Colman (1832-1920). Tiffany was attracted to the natural environment and, following travels abroad and his exposure to French Orientalist paintings, to more exotic themes set in North Africa and the Near East.

Saturday, December 4 at 2:00 p.m.
"An Illuminating Look at Tiffany Lamps" by Lindsy Parrott, Director/Curator of The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass

This lecture examines the themes of design inspiration, lampshade fabrication, original pricing and marketing, and changing lighting technologies in greater detail. Illustrations include archival photographs of Tiffany's studios and craftsmen, rare period advertisements and promotional brochures. This lecture goes beyond the general appreciation of the beauty of Tiffany lamps by examining the artistry and historical context of these iconic objects.

Lecture cost: $10 per Member/$15 Non-Member
Series cost: $25 Member/ $35 Non-Member (Admission included in cost of lecture)

For a registration form, please click here.


"A World of Glass & Light: The Art of Louis C. Tiffany in Context" - Lecture Series

Join Marlisa Mizerak for one or all of her fall Friday lectures on Louis Comfort Tiffany and his place in the Arts & Crafts movement.

Friday, October 29 at 6:00 p.m.
"The End of the World As We Know It"

Tiffany gained renown during the Fin de Siècle (or "end of the century") period, when art became more organic and emotional, bordering on the surreal. We'll compare Tiffany's work not only to other "decorative" artists, but also to painters like Edvard Munch and Gustav Klimt.

Friday, November 5 at 6:00 p.m.
"Reflections of the East"

During his travels through such exotic locales as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, Tiffany fell under the spell of Eastern art. We will discuss which elements of Near and Far Eastern art emerge in his mature work and what the original context was for those sources.

Friday, November 12 at 6:00 p.m.
"Say It With Cardboard"

Tiffany continued to work into the 20th century. However, the world around him was rapidly changing, especially the art world. We will look at what could almost be considered the "Anti-Tiffany impulse" – works by the Cubists, Constructivists and Dadaists made from inelegant materials such as cardboard.

Cost per lecture: $5 for Members/$10 for Non-Members. For a registration form, please click here.


Bus Trip - "Glass & Wine: A Trip to the Corning Museum of Glass and the Finger Lakes Wine Country in New York"
- October 17 & 18, 2010

On Sunday, we will leave the Museum at promptly 7:30 a.m. and arrive at lunchtime at Castel Grisch Winery and Restaurant for a hot lunch (included) and wine tasting (included). Castel Grisch is a charming European-style winery overlooking Seneca Lake in New York. Castel Grisch was founded by a Swiss family and developed at this location because of its similarities to their native Switzerland - the panoramic views of the hillside and lake. (www.castelgrisch.com)

Following our lunch and wine tasting, we'll board the bus to our next destination, a late-afternoon visit to the Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, New York. (Admission and tour is included.) The Rockwell Museum of Western Art is one of the best museum collections of American Western and Native American Art on the East Coast. (www.rockwellmuseum.org)

Our last stop on Sunday will be to check into our hotel, the Radisson Hotel Corning. Located in the downtown Gaffer District, the Radisson Hotel Corning, offers warm hospitality, an inviting atmosphere and top-notch services. During your stay, go for a swim in the indoor pool, work out in the Fitness Center, unwind in the Jacuzziand treat yourself to exceptional on-site dining. Participants may have dinner on their own, either out on the town in historic Corning or in the hotel's restaurant, Grill 1-2-5. (www.radisson.com/corningny)

Monday morning, enjoy the hot buffet breakfast at the hotel (included). Following breakfast, we will depart the hotel for a half-day visit at the Corning Museum of Glass. Here, we will tour the exhibition Tiffany Treasures: Favrile Glass from Outside Collections, view hot glass demonstrations, and enjoy seeing the collection of the largest glass museum in the world. Participants will lunch on their own at the GlassMarket Café in the Museum or at one of the local eateries in Corning. We will depart Corning at approximately 2:00 pm and return to Reading at dinnertime. Bus leaves Sunday morning from Museum lot at 7:30am and leaves Corning on Monday at 2:00 pm.

Cost: Double Occupancy - $325 Members/$350 Non-Members; Single Occupancy - $350 Members/$375 Non-Members (price is per person and includes transportation, all admissions & tours, hotel stay, lunch and wine tasting on Sunday and breakfast on Monday). For a flier and registration form, click here.


"Bagels, Bach & Beyond – The Paragon Palm Court Ensemble" – Sunday, October 31 - 10 a.m. - Noon

Enjoy "Breakfast at Tiffany's"! As a special complement to this exhibition, The Paragon Palm Court Ensemble will present elegant musical gems from the Art Nouveau era. The ensemble, consisting of Yuko Naito (violin), Alistair McRae (cello), Leslie Cullen (flute), and Rick Benjamin (pianoforte), will perform original c1890-1920 salon music scores from collection of Anthony Gasparro, Philadelphia's leading "society" musician of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The members of the Paragon Palm Court Ensemble – all top New York concert and recording players - are veterans of Rick Benjamin's Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, one of the world's best known re-creators of historic music. For detils, click here.


"Glass at the GoggleWorks"

See the beautiful art of stained glass at the Museum. Try it yourself this fall during a stained glass class on workshop at the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts. One-day workshops are offered for creating a stained glass mirror or stained glass earrings. A six-week course "Stained Glass for Beginners" is also being offered beginning Sept. 28. For more information about these stained glass courses as well as additional glass-related classes please call 610.374.4600 or visit www.goggleworks.org/Education under "Classes Currently Enrolling."


PA Glass Trail Weekend: September 11 & 12 – November 13 & 14

GoggleWorks is also a part of the PA Glass Trail, a unique self-guided tour of independent artists´ studios, galleries and shops featuring glass art located along the Route 222 corridor from Lancaster to Bethlehem.Talk to glass artists. Learn how glass art is created. Discover some of the most beautiful glass art in the country. Find one-kind-a-kind treasures for the perfect gift! Or attempt the art of glassmaking with a hands-on workshop. For more information, visit www.paglasstrail.com. Please contact individual studios to schedule your visit


"Get It While It’s Hot" – GoggleWorks – Saturday, November 20, 2010 – 5-9 p.m.

Come enjoy the energy, the crowd — and the fire! Watch EXTREME glass blowing by famed glass artists from across the country along with the opportunity to bid on the HOT art as it is being created. Enjoy adult beverages and hors d’oeuvres. This one-of-a-kind event in Berks supports the GoggleWorks Hot Shop. $35 per ticket. For tickets, please call the GoggleWorks at 610-374-4600.