Through the looking glass…

January 5, 2009

At the turn of the 20th century, Louis Comfort Tiffany was at his peak of inspiration. By the 1900’s World’s Fair, Tiffay and his team of designers (an array of whom were women at a time when the common belief was that designing was a “male profession”) set the world on fire with their galss creations of avante-garde shapes and colors.

With Artistic Luxury, the Cleveland Museum of Art has brought together three of Tiffany’s most acclaimed winows in one city. Artistic Luxury represents the American debut of one of Tiffany’s most highly-regarded works in stained glass, the Magnolia Window.

Magnolia Window, c. 1900, Tiffany Studios, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

Magnolia Window, c. 1900, Tiffany Studios, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

This remarkable window was taken to the 1900’s World Fair in Paris by Tiffany and later sold in 1901 to the Stieglitz Academy of Art and Design in St. Petersburg. During the Russian Revolution, the Stieglitz collections went to the State Hermitage Museum for safe keeping. There the Magnolia Window sat all throughout the Soviet era. It was only recently that it was put on display. I stumbled across it while looking for Fabergé works for Artistic Luxury.

Adding to the Magnolia Window debut is two of Cleveland’s own Tiffany treasures. On display in Artistic Luxury is a window originally created for the now demolished Howell Hinds house (located at the present site of the First Church of Christ Scientist). About a mile or so down the road, can be found Tiffany’s Flight of Souls Window, located in Lakeview Cemetery’s Wade Chapel, which Tiffany also included among his offerings at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris.

When life closes a door, it opens a window or in this case three. And if that isn’t a once in a lifetime opportunity, I don’t know what is.



  • Check out my vlogs on
  • Get tickets to CMA’s Cabaret Artistique on January 16, featuring Daniel Isengart and Baby Dee, price includes ticket to Artistic Luxury.



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