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Louise Tiffany, Reading | 1888 | Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louise Tiffany, Reading | 1888 | Louis Comfort Tiffany

Louise Tiffany, Reading | 1888 | Louis Comfort Tiffany

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 746

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 746

Louis Comfort Tiffany is best known for his stained glass...yup THAT stained glass (an son to Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Co.) He is the guy behind Tiffany lamps and Tiffany glass. In Chicago, you may have seen his work among The Richard Driehaus Museum collection at Navy Pier, the mosaic ceiling at The Chicago Cultural CenterChicago Architecture Foundation Walking Tour: Tiffany Treasures in Chicago, the mosaic ceiling at Macy’s on State Street (the former Marshall Field & Company flagship), The Marquette Building, the peacock doors at the The Palmer House Hilton, and several windows at the Second Presbyterian Church.

Louise, the subject of this painting, was Louis Comfort Tiffany's second wife. Born Louise Wakeman Knox, she was the daughter of Lafayette College president James Hall Mason Knox. They married in 1884, two years after the death of his first wife. Four years later, he painted this portrait of her in a a typical 1880s gown with engageantes (those big lacy sleeves) and cap. According to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the cap shown below "more likely [would] have been worn by a married woman as part of her morning toilette." Most fashionable women during this era stopped wearing day caps so that they could show off their curly chignon.

I love the composition of this painting. I can just imagine that Louise was accompanying Louis while he worked on his art, she brought a book with her to entertain herself. Perhaps he continued working longer than she expected, perhaps the book wasn't as entertaining as she had hoped, perhaps it was warm in the studio and she had just finished a long day of entertaining over afternoon tea. Regardless, at some point she fell asleep and Louis captured the moment. I know Eric has caught me in this position (not looking nearly as elegant) a time or two when I said I was going to go read and when he came to check on me I was fast asleep.

If you're interested in learning more about Louis Comfort Tiffany, consider one of these books:

Louis Comfort Tiffany Masterworks.jpg
Louis Comfort Tiffany Masterworks
$10.97
By Camilla de la Bédoyère
The Choice

The Choice

The TimeKeepers

The TimeKeepers