Louis C. Tiffany(1848–1933), one of the most creative and prolific designers of the late 19th-century, declared that his life-long goal was “the pursuit of beauty.” Originally trained as a painter, he began studying the chemistry and techniques of glassmaking when he was 24. He developed this interest as a partner in the firm of Louis C. Tiffany and Company, Associated Artists (1881–83). He provided innovative interior decoration for clients ranging from Mark Twain in Hartford, Connecticut, to President Chester Arthur at the White House. Tiffany’s aesthetic was based on his conviction that nature should be the primary source of design inspiration. Intoxicated by color, he translated into glass the lush palette found in flowers and plants.
Tiffany successfully created an art industry. He triumphed where others had failed because his personal fortune allowed him to sacrifice company profits in the interests of artistic achievement. In addition, he provided an extraordinary range of products, so that consumers at almost every economic level had access to his religion of beauty.