Month: February 2015

Louis Comfort Tiffany favrile art glass vase

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Celebrating Innovation

Louis Comfort Tiffany favrile art glass vase On this day in 1848, Louis Comfort Tiffany was born in New York City to Charles Lewis Tiffany, the founder of the renowned Tiffany & Co. Louis Comfort Tiffany forged his own artistic path, separate from the diamond jewelry legacy of his father, and became one of the most notable America designers in the Art Nouveau and Aesthetic movements. Tiffany began his artistic career as a painter but by 1875 he had become interested in glassmaking, working at several glasshouses in Brooklyn until 1877. He founded Louis Comfort Tiffany and Associated American Artists in 1879 with three notable American designers: Candace Wheeler (the “mother of interior design” and first American woman interior and textile designer), Samuel Colman and Lockwood de Forest.

During the height of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Associated American Artists, the company oversaw such important interior design projects as the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut. Most notably, the firm was commissioned by President Chester Arthur in 1881 to completely redecorate the state rooms of the White House. Tiffany worked on the East Room, the Blue Room, the Red Room, the State Dining Room and the Entrance Hall. He refurnished the rooms, repainting the walls with decorative patterns and adding wallpaper with densely ornate Aesthetic designs, and adding Tiffany glass to the light fixtures, as well as an opalescent floor-to-ceiling glass screen in the Entrance Hall. The Tiffany renovations were lost in 1902 when President Theodore Roosevelt restored the White House interiors to their original Federal style. (Some surviving period photographs showing the Tiffany renovations can be seen at the White House Museum).

Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass lampBy 1885, Tiffany had turned his attention almost exclusively to glassmaking and dissolved Louis Comfort Tiffany and Associated American Artists. He founded his first glass factory in 1892, naming it Tiffany Studios, and proceeded to embark on a highly celebrated and innovative career in fine glassmaking. His constant drive to develop new techniques while exploring and expanding upon traditional methods led to some of the period’s most notable works of decorative art.

Louis Comfort Tiffany admired the lustrous iridescence of ancient Roman glass; these optical effects were caused by mineral impurities not found in finer glass. Other glassmakers were reluctant to include these mineral impurities so Tiffany began making his own glass, deliberately introducing these impure materials for their luminous effect. Tiffany transformed the process of creating stained glass by using opalescent art glass in a variety of colors and textures, cut to the desired size, and edged in copper foil; each copper foil edged piece was then soldered together to create windows and lamps with an unprecedented level of detail. The copper foil technique was revolutionary.

Louis Comfort Tiffany favrile glass candlesticksTiffany was constantly innovating and creating. He patented the distinctive Favrile art glass technique in 1894. Unlike the majority of iridescent glass pieces of  the day, the vivid hues of Favrile glass were created by embedding the colors in the molten glass rather than applying them later to the item’s surface. Using metallic oxides and acid fumes, Tiffany could create a distinctive lustre effect. The term Favrile is thought to have been named after the word ‘fabrile’, old French or old English for ‘handmade’, indicating that the range was made by skilled craftsmen.

Although he was rightly renowned for his Favrile art glass creations, stained glass, and exquisite jewelry, Louis Comfort Tiffany also ran a foundry in New York that produced some of the finest bronze sculptures of the late 19th and early 20th century. A descendent of one of Tiffany’s foundry workers brought in some interesting historical memorabilia to one of our appraisal day events, which gave us a fascinating insight to the artistry and industry that went on behind the scenes.

Today we can celebrate the birthday of a prestigious artist and designer who gave the world an extraordinary variety of beautiful and innovative works of art.

Louis Comfort Tiffany favrile glass vase

Alfred Thompson Bricher Before & After Painting Restoration

Oil Painting Restoration and Cleaning

We offer professional conservatorial quality oil painting restoration and cleaning services. Oil painting restoration can bring a prized family heirloom back to its original beauty, or prepare a painting to be sold. A painting’s surface can be dimmed by environmental factors like water damage and smoke or dirt buildup and our skilled conservators can also expertly tackle more significant damage like rips or tears.

Portrait of a Lady Before & After Painting Restoration
Portrait of a Lady Before & After Restoration

When should a painting be cleaned or restored?

We can help you restore a painting that has emotional or sentimental value, and we can also help bring a painting back to life so it can be sold. Selling your painting is not a requirement for taking advantage of our professional team and competitive rates.

A fine painting by a well-listed artist or a talented amateur can sometimes have its value enhanced by a professional cleaning or restoration. A well-cleaned or restored painting will often perform better in the open market than a damaged or dirty painting.

A few years ago, we were asked down to a family home in Guilderland to look at an oil painting. The couple who owned the very large painting had received it when a distant relative died 30 years before; the painting was taken to the garage, propped behind an old refrigerator, and forgotten. When we first saw it, the painting was covered in decades of dust and grime and badly in need of a cleaning, but it was still identifiable as a superb Hudson River School painting by the well-regarded artist Alfred Thompson Bricher. Our conservation team properly cleaned and conserved the painting, and we sold it at auction for the family, bringing them $130,000. Below, you can see the amazing transformation from before the restoration to after.

 

Bricher Painting Before & Restoration
Alfred Thompson Bricher Painting Before & Restoration

 

Sometimes the cost of cleaning a painting may be higher than its fair market value. However, many families are interested in restoring an heirloom to its original beauty for their own enjoyment. The sentimental value of a painting can be more important than any profit. Ultimately, it is up to the customer to decide if its emotional value outweighs the cost of cleaning and restoring.

 

Dimitrieff Painting Before & After Restoration
Dimitrieff Painting Before & After Restoration

 

What is the process of having your painting evaluated for restoration?

First, we will set up an appointment for you to bring your oil painting to one of our offices. (An appointment can be set up by calling our office at 518-587-8787.) Mr. Lawson will examine the painting and discuss with you the potential treatments the painting might require: cleaning, stabilization, re-framing, repair, etc. You will then receive an estimate for the cost of services. Our conservatorial team provides exceptional results, a quick turnaround time, and competitive prices.

Mother & Child Portrait Before & After Painting Restoration
Mother & Child Portrait Before & After Restoration

How much does it cost to clean or restore a painting?

The short answer is: it depends on exactly what kind of work needs to be done. Without seeing the painting in person, it’s difficult to evaluate this. Your estimate will include the projected cost of restoration as well as the projected length of time the restoration will require.

Can you also restore prints/watercolor paintings/sculpture/porcelain?

We primarily focus on cleaning and restoring oil paintings, but sometimes we can help with prints, watercolor paintings, or other works on paper. We can always give you a reliable referral if we can’t help you ourselves.

Would you like to learn more about having your oil painting cleaned or restored? Email us at marklawsonantiques@gmail.com or call us directly at (518) 587-8787.