Decorative Arts


Candle lamps, ca. 1906–18
Louis Comfort Tiffany (United States, 1848–1933)
Bronze, Favrile glass
16 x 5 inches each
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Willis Bruce 1982-16-6/7

These candlesticks consist of tall slender bronze shafts capped by tulip-shaped glass shades. The swirling organic motif of the wide circular bases offers a rough texture that balances the smooth finish of the shafts' simple geometric ornamentation. A cup at the top of the shafts conceals a cylindrical hollow for holding candles, and screws secure the glass shades. Both candlesticks preserve their original brown patina. Three identifying marks are inscribed on the underside of each base: the phrase "Tiffany Studios" in block letters, the Tiffany monogram, and the item number (30388 and 30353, respectively). The shades are made of Tiffany Studios' patented hand-blown Favrile glass. Both shades are amber-colored with an iridescent sheen vacillating between red and gold. One also features blue iridescence. The initials "L.C.T." are incised on the bases.

In 1898, Louis Comfort Tiffany added a foundry to his decorative-glass business, creating the Tiffany Studios. Tiffany was influenced by the hand-crafting principles of the Arts & Crafts movement and the organic forms of Art Nouveau, while remaining a pragmatic citizen of the industrial age. Thus, Tiffany Studios produced both unique decorative-arts pieces and handmade, albeit mass-produced, items for commercial sale. These candlesticks belong to the latter category, in which hand-worked elements are combined with mold-made forms. Hand-production is evident in the shades' variation of coloration and silhouette, while the uniform bases signal the use of molds. Components of these candlesticks resemble other objects produced by Tiffany Studios, but the pairing of a single tulip shade with a long, slender shaft is unparalleled. These objects are rare among Tiffany's output, with no known identical examples.

Text by Julia Sienkewicz, from Krannert Art Museum: Selected Works, 2008

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