Quad Cities – The Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, opens two new exhibits in early 2019—one of Art Nouveau Amphora pottery and the other of Tiffany glass. The second-floor Lewis Gallery at the museum features Art Nouveau Amphora now through June 16, 2019. On February 16 through May 19, 2019, Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection fills the third-floor gallery of the museum with jewel-like colors and iridescent surfaces.
Art Nouveau or the “new Art” emerged in the late 19th century and is recognized for the use of curvilinear forms inspired by nature and a focus on aesthetic beauty. Developing out of the Aesthetic Movement, Art Nouveau gained international popularity and influenced art, architecture, illustration and decorative arts.
It was also during this period, that Louis Comfort Tiffany and his studios created stained glass windows and iridescent art glass, while in Turn-Teplitz, Austria (now part of the Czech Republic), the manufacturer Riessner, Stellmacher and Kessel (RSt&K), later called Amphora, produced distinctive art pottery.
Amphora’s elaborate creations ranged from the elegant to the bizarre and often were finished with striking glazes and gold accents. Some artisans sculpted mythical beasts, while others decorated vessels with images of beautiful women. While Amphora is best known for their pottery in the Art Nouveau style, they produced a range of work demonstrating shifting tastes and artistic styles during the era.
Drawn from the collection of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum in Chicago, the exhibition opening Feb. 16 features over 60 exemplary works created by Tiffany’s studios. From small blown glass vases to breathtaking stained-glass windows and a spectacular selection of lamps, the exhibition demonstrates the craftsmanship and inventiveness of Tiffany Artisans.
The Driehaus Collection finds a kindred spirit in the Figge’s galleries through the River of Life that is now on long-term load to the museum. This Tiffany window graced the Frederick C.A. Denkmann (1822-1905) family mausoleum at Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island, Ill., until it was stolen from there in 1970s. The window was recovered by the FBI in 1997.
Tiffany’s father, Charles Lewis Tiffany, undoubtedly influenced his son’s eye for decoration and design. Begun in 1837, the father’s successful fancy goods and jewelry business, which later became Tiffany & Co., imported and sold an exotic mix of the finest porcelain, textiles, glass and brassware. With his father’s support, the well-educated and well-traveled Tiffany was an accomplished painter by the age of 20. By the 1870s, his artistic process led to Louis C. Tiffany and Associated Artists – the first of several ventures that produced innovations in glassmaking for which he would become famous.
While the magnificence and exceptional quality of Tiffany glass made this medium the most significant of his career, he continued to innovate, expanding his operations into enamels, pottery, and jewelry. Despite the enormous success he experienced in his many interrelated businesses over his long career, Tiffany’s work went out of vogue with the advent of modernism. Tiffany’s work received renewed appreciation in the mid-twentieth century and continues to be associated with unparalleled quality and beauty to this day. When Tiffany died in 1933, the New York Times obituary counted him “among the best known of American artists.”
For a side trip to see another Tiffany window while in the Quad Cities, visit the Trinity Anglican Church at 1818 6th Ave. in Rock Island, Ill., where a Tiffany window graces the church’s chancel. It is one among three stained glass windows in the church, two are by John LaFarge and the other by Louis C. Tiffany.
To see amazing handblown glass vases, bowls and sculptures being made, visit Hot Glass, Inc. at 104 Western Ave. in Davenport, Iowa. There, you can see glass blowing artists at work and visit their gallery floor where works are available for sale. You can also sign-up for a class. Check the website atwww.hotglassart.org or call ahead at 309-945-3014 for glass blowing studio hours.
Companion Events at the Figge Art Museum
Free Family Day
10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, February 23
Free admission all day – special activities for the entire family inspired by the current exhibitions.
Amphora Author/Collector Talk
6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2
Author and collector Bryon Vreeland will speak about the exhibition.
Exhibition and Collection Highlights Tours
1:30 p.m. Saturday, February 23, March 9, 23, April 13, 27, May 4
1:30 p.m. Sunday, February 24, March 10, 24, April 14, 28, May 5
Figge Art Museum Information
The Figge Art Museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday (10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday). Admission is $7 adults; $6 for ages 60 and up and students with ID; $4 for ages 3-12. The Figge Café is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. For more information and updates on tours and program, visitwww.figgeartmuseum.org or call 563-326-7804. The Figge Art Museum is located at 225 West 2nd Street, Davenport, Iowa.
The Quad Cities is located on the Mississippi River and is made up of the riverfront cities of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. The area is just a 2-½ hour drive from Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois. It is easily accessible via I-80, I-74, I-88 and several major state highways. Visit Quad Cities is the region’s official destination management organization. For more information, visit us online at www.visitquadcities.com and connect with us on social media.