Tiffany Colonna Vase Tiffany Colonna Vase Tiffany Colonna Vase Tiffany Colonna Vase Tiffany Colonna Vase Tiffany Colonna Vase Tiffany Colonna Vase Tiffany Colonna Vase Tiffany Colonna Vase Tiffany Colonna Vase Tiffany Colonna Vase
An Opal and Silver-Mounted Favrile Glass Vase

The glass by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, New York
The silver and opal mount designed by Edward Colonna, executed for S. Bing,
L’Art Nouveau, Paris, circa 1898

The glass engraved on the underside o477, the silver unmarked

The vase: 4 ¾ in (12 cm) high
The silver mount: 6 in (15.2 cm) high

Private collection, Germany

‘Tiffany Glass: A Passion for Colour’,
Musée du Luxembourg 16th September 2009-17th January 2010,
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts 11th February 2010-2nd May 2010,
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 28th May 2010-15th August 2010

Rosalind M. Pepall, ed., Tiffany Glass: A Passion for Colour, 2009, pp. 146-147
Rosalind M. Peppall, Louis C. Tiffany: Le maître du verre, 2009

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About 1897, Siegfried Bing changed the nature of his recently-opened gallery, L’Art Nouveau. Neither the Paris press nor the French populace had particularly liked the mixture of Belgian and English furniture that he was showing, nor did they appreciate the juxtaposition of English metalwares, Scandinavian porcelains, and American glass. To counteract this xenophobia, Bing hired a staff of three new designers—Eugène Gaillard, Edward Colonna, and Georges de Feure−to create works in all media that were unified in style and more elegantly French in appearance.

One of the first assignments given to Colonna was to create silver mountings for Bing’s unsold stock of Chinese snuff bottles, Tiffany glass, and French pottery. As can be seen in this beautiful object, Colonna transformed an organically shaped and lustrous Tiffany vase into a precious objet d’art. A svelte silver ribbon embraces the equally asymmetrical shape of Tiffany’s vessel, and the opals set within the mount beautifully compliment the gentle iridescence of the Favrile glass. Like a painting by Whistler, there is a harmony of tones—something that Tiffany always sought to establish in his use of combined materials although here, of course, Tiffany had nothing to say in the creation of this work once the glass left his factory. It is not a pitcher, though there is a vague suggestion of this. Rather, it is a functionless objet intended for display and admiration. Moreover, both the vase and the mount are each one-of-a-kind—thus heightening the sense of a costly, precious object.

Colonna’s authorship of this design is attested to by a photograph pasted on a sheet of heavy paper now in the Newark Public Library in Newark, New Jersey. The other photos on this page show two Alexandre Bigot ceramics with mounts by Colonna, as well as two silver sugar spoons and a silver lamp base designed by Colonna. These and other photographs and original drawings were donated in the 1920s by the artist himself, when he was leaving the United States to retire to France. The Bigot/Colonna pitcher in the upper left corner and the spoon at the right are now in the Musée des arts décoratifs, Paris, but the other objects, like most of these unique pieces designed by Colonna, seem not to have survived. Certainly very few Tiffany Favrile vases with Colonna mountings remain: other than the present example, one is in the Copenhagen Museum of Glass, another is in the Corning Museum of Glass, and a third is in a private collection.