ASHEVILLE, NC – When the Tiffany at Biltmore exhibition opens this summer, lovers of art, antiques and gardens will encounter a feast for the senses.
The exhibition of 45 stained-glass lamps and eight photomurals will fill The Biltmore Legacy exhibition hall. In addition to viewing the renowned lamps, guests can take in Tiffany-inspired landscapes and designs around the estate created for the exhibition.
The exhibition, known as “Tiffany Lamps: Articles of Utility, Objects of Art,” comes to Biltmore from The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in New York City. It is an in-depth look at the Tiffany Studios’ efforts to produce lamps that balance artistry with utility and profitability. It features 45 stunning lamps in an array of colors, sizes and decorative styles, and includes tools, materials and period photographs to demonstrate how the lamps were made.
One of America’s most celebrated artists and designers, Tiffany was an established tastemaker in the late 19th century. He catered to the wealthiest patrons, including both friends and family of George and Edith Vanderbilt. Though also noted for his skills in painting, decorative arts, and interior design, it was Tiffany’s experimentation with stained glass that brought him lasting fame.
Tiffany and fellow artist John La Farge revolutionized the stained glass medium by incorporating three-dimensional design elements into their works. George Vanderbilt’s, father William H. Vanderbilt, commissioned La Farge to create several stained-glass windows for his home on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1879. Three of these extraordinary windows will be featured in the exhibition alongside Tiffany’s creations.
Tiffany in the Gardens
Louis Comfort Tiffany’s use of botanicals and love of nature have inspired Biltmore’s horticulture team to create interpretations of Tiffany’s iconic dragonfly lamp series. Four dragonflies – one in each of the diamond-shaped patterned beds in the Walled Garden – will be created from flowers and foliage planted and designed to resemble stained glass. Each dragonfly design will span 40 feet and will take more than 12,000 plants to create. Plant selection is based on what will best mimic the colors and hues of Tiffany stained glass.
The team will also build a six-foot-tall, 24-foot-long “living wall” of flowering plants and greenery that resembles a stained-glass window. It will be located at the Conservatory.
“It’s a way of coming full circle,” said Parker Andes, Biltmore’s director of horticulture. “We’ve created seasonal designs in a display inspired by Tiffany lamps that were, in fact, inspired by flowers and nature.”
Large, Tiffany-style lamp shade planters filled with colorful blooms will adorn the sidewalks of Antler Hill Village, where the exhibition will be held. Doc Cudd, Biltmore’s blacksmith, created the wrought-iron lamp posts with framing for the flowers. Stained-glass artist John Orlich of Asheville created decorative plant stakes with stained-glass dragonflies and butterflies to place around the village and the Walled Garden.
When guests enter Biltmore House during the exhibition’s run, they’ll walk under a large arbor hanging over the front door. It will feature glass grapes and botanical touches, inspired by some of Tiffany’s most well-known pieces. The floral team will turn the center fountain in the Winter Garden into a “growing” lamp using tropical plants accented by shallow water gardens to create an exotic atmosphere. Special floral arrangements will be placed throughout the home’s first floor rooms.
Antler Hill Village will be the central location for Tiffany at Biltmore Opening Weekend, set for July 1 through 3. Demonstrations in glass blowing and stained glass will take place throughout the weekend, with live music by the Firecracker Jazz Band, face painting, kids’ crafts, a balloon artist and a caricature artist.
The Tiffany exhibition runs July 1 through Oct. 23, and will be included in daily admission to Biltmore. For more information, please visit www.biltmore.com.