Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tiffany Exhibition Coming to VMFA in May Opens at Musée du Luxembourg in Paris


Image showing three lamps made by Louis Comfort Tiffany at the exhibition “Tiffany: Color and Light” which opened at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris, France

VMFA Director Alex Nyerges (left) chats at the Musée du Luxembourg with Robin Nicholson, VMFA's deputy director for exhibitions, and Anna Eschatasse, executive assistant for special exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The three attended today's preview in Paris of the show of Louis Comfort Tiffany works that will be on view at VMFA in May. Photo: Jay Paul)

PARIS.- Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Director Alex Nyerges, in Paris today for a preview of one of the most significant exhibitions ever mounted of works by the master of American glass, Louis Comfort Tiffany, called the show “dazzling.”

“Here in Paris, the City of Light, the color and light of these Tiffany masterworks are spectacularly appropriate,” Nyerges said.

The exhibition opens to the public at the Musée du Luxembourg Wednesday, Sept. 16, and continues through Jan. 10. It will then travel to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for a showing from Feb. 11 to May 2.

The American première of “Tiffany: Color and Light” will be at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond May 29. VMFA will be the only American museum to show the exhibition, which will continue in Richmond through Aug. 15.

“Tiffany: Color and Light” will be the first major exhibition to be shown at VMFA after the grand opening May 1 of the James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing, now under construction.

“The Tiffany exhibition will be the first of many international exhibitions in the expanded Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” Nyerges said at the Paris preview.

When the museum reopens, “gallery space will be 50 percent larger and special-exhibition space will double,” he said. “We will be able to accommodate much larger and more extensive special exhibitions than ever before in our history,” he said.

The expansion will add some 165,000 square feet to VMFA's previously existing 380,000 square feet.

“The Tiffany exhibition will occupy 8,500 square feet of the 12,000 square feet of special-exhibition space in the new wing,” he said.

Conceived by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and organized in collaboration with VMFA and the Musée du Luxembourg, “Tiffany: Color and Light” celebrates the work of the renowned designer who achieved original and spectacular effects in hand-blown glass vessels, leaded glass windows and lamps, and other decorative objects.

“Our own large treasure of works by Tiffany makes Richmond an ideal venue, and we are delighted to have been able to lend 14 important works to the show,” Nyerges said.

The exhibition’s approximately 170 objects will include blown-glass vessels; lamps; leaded-glass windows; and decorative objects such as mosaics, bronzes and jewelry; along with paintings, watercolors, architectural elements and silver. Four of the windows, created for the Erskine and American United Church in Montreal, have never before been shown in the United States.

Tiffany (1848-1933) took advantage of the new technology of electric lighting to reveal the jewel-like hues and sparkle of his leaded-glass lampshades. The wide popularity of his lamps made Tiffany’s a household name.

“Visitors to the exhibition will see first-hand evidence of Tiffany’s love of exoticism, rich ornament, fine craftsmanship, and the abstract qualities of color that placed him squarely in many of the artistic movements of his time, from Arts and Crafts and the American Aesthetic Movement to Art Nouveau and Symbolism,” says Barry Shifman, VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Decorative Arts from 1890 to the Present.

The exhibition’s curators are Rosalind Pepall, senior curator of decorative arts at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, who is the Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and Martin Eidelberg, professor emeritus of art history at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.


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