Tiffany, La Farge Reunited at Biltmore

The fierce and bitter rivalry between opalescent stained glass makers John La Farge and Louis Comfort Tiffany will arrive at a graceful truce at Biltmore Estate on July 1.

It’s been more than a century in the making.

Biltmore is clearing out five rooms at its new Legacy Building at Antler Hill Village, where a La Farge triptych already makes its home, for a series of lamps and chandeliers by Tiffany.

La Farge is known as the inventor of the opalescent stained glass window.  He and Tiffany experimented together with the medium in the late 19th century.  La Farge patented the process in 1880, and when Tiffany filed a similar patent in 1881, their collaboration and friendship was shattered.

But at the Legacy Building, their work will once again stand side-by-side.

“It’s a really spectacular opportunity,” said Leslie Klingner, curator of interpretation at Biltmore.  “There are more than 45 examples of lamps that show the range of Tiffany’s work, and you’ll be able to see them all up close.”

The lamps, electrified, are among the last of Tiffany’s work.  “All the lessons he learned from all of his media, are applied here,” she said. 

“Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Art” is on loan from the Neustadt Collection in New York, and will run through Oct. 23.  The exhibition, known as “Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Art,” is an in‐depth look at Tiffany’s efforts to produce lamps that balance artistry with utility and profitability. The lamps come in an array of colors, sizes and decorative styles. Also on display will be tools, materials and period photographs to demonstrate how the lamps were made.

The work will be displayed in five sections throughout the Legacy Building.  Of particular interest are lamps inspired by nature.  “There are some depicting pond lilies, and peonies,” Klingner said.  “And there’s one of wisteria that’s reminiscent of the library terrace at Biltmore.”

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