Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is excited to present Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature as the 2023 installment of its Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series.
Running from February 12 through June 25 at the Downtown Sarasota campus, this stunning exhibition will showcase the creativity and innovation of iconic American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). Tiffany was the founder of Tiffany Studios and the first design director of Tiffany & Co., the renowned jewelry and silver firm established by his father. The Selby Gardens show will be the first of its kind presented in a botanical garden, an ideal setting in which to highlight the connection between Tiffany’s work and the natural world.
One of the most influential American artists and designers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Tiffany specialized in decorative arts, particularly stained glass. His work was part of a lifelong goal that he described as “the pursuit of beauty.” Tiffany’s unique aesthetic was based on a belief that inspiration for art and design should be found in nature. The rich hues that distinguished his work were drawn from the colors of plants, especially flowers and fruits.
For the exhibition, Tiffany’s famed stained-glass lamps and windows have inspired Selby Gardens’ horticulturists to design stunning displays for the Tropical Conservatory and the outdoor Gardens (think walking inside a “living lampshade” through which sunlight casts different colors or admiring a giant “stained-glass flower” made of colorful crushed glass, live plants, and flowing water). These kaleidoscopic vignettes of flowers and foliage will play with light, color, and different materials to create a truly immersive experience, blurring the line between art and nature.
Accompanying the elaborate horticultural installations will be outstanding examples of Tiffany’s own work, on view inside the Museum of Botany & the Arts. Generously lent from a private collection, this remarkable selection of more than 40 lamps, vases, and other objects will help tell the story of how Tiffany and his firm revolutionized glassmaking and elevated the status of American decorative arts at home and abroad.
To realize his creative vision, Tiffany employed a team of skilled designers and craftspeople who translated his ideas into beautiful objects of almost every artistic and decorative medium. He encouraged them to look to nature—from dragonflies to daffodils—and to interpret it imaginatively. The artisans included several talented women—the Tiffany Girls—who contributed to every aspect of glasswork, from initial design to final product. Stories of the people and processes that succeeded in bringing the beauty of nature into homes across America will be part of the gallery interpretation.
Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature is included with general admission to Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus during the run of the exhibition. Special programs and events designed to help visitors explore the exhibition and its themes are also planned. Learn more and purchase admission tickets online at selby.org.