SARASOTA, FL, November 1, 2022 – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will present Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature as the 2023 installment of its Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series. Opening February 12, 2023, the exhibition—an elaborate living art display integrating horticulture and art installed throughout the Gardens—will showcase the creativity and innovation of the American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature marks the seventh edition of Selby Gardens’ annual Goldstein Exhibition, which examines the work of major artists through the lens of their connections to nature.
The presentation will feature an array of Tiffany’s acclaimed stained‐glass windows and lamps and immersive horticultural displays. Created by Selby Gardens’ horticultural team with the leadership of Chief Museum Curator Dr. David Berry, the installations will be located in the Gardens’ world‐famous Tropical Conservatory and throughout the grounds of its 15‐acre Downtown Sarasota campus. Hundreds of colorful bromeliads will form floral mosaics of “stained glass” in the landscape, and blooming butterfly plants will enhance the outdoor vignettes. Inside the Tropical Conservatory, vibrant orchids, gesneriads, and bromeliads will enliven stunning displays inspired by Tiffany’s aesthetic. The kaleidoscopic horticultural vignettes will spotlight connections between Tiffany Studios’ output and the natural world—from daffodils and wisteria to dragonflies and lilyponds.
“Louis Comfort Tiffany’s work as an artist and designer was part of a lifelong goal he described as ‘the pursuit of beauty,’ and he believed that inspiration for this work should be found in nature,” said Selby Gardens President and CEO Jennifer O. Rominiecki. “We are excited to celebrate Louis Comfort Tiffany’s art—admired and beloved by so many—and more deeply explore his unique aesthetic in the context of our botanical garden setting.”
Louis Comfort Tiffany was one of the most influential American artists and designers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He founded Tiffany Studios and served as the first design director of Tiffany & Co., the renowned jewelry and silver firm established by his father, Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812-1902). Louis Comfort Tiffany was closely associated with Art Nouveau, an international style of art and design characterized by organic lines and natural forms. He began his career as a painter, but later turned his attention to decorative arts, particularly stained glass, for which he became best known.
Outstanding examples of Tiffany’s work in various media will be on view in Selby Gardens’ Museum of Botany & the Arts. Generously lent from a private collection, this remarkable group of over 40 lamps, vases, and other objects will be used to tell the story of Tiffany and his studio, which revolutionized glassmaking and elevated the status of American decorative arts at home and abroad.
One of the stories Berry will explore in the Museum exhibition is the group of often unnamed artisans who helped Louis Comfort Tiffany achieve his vision. Tiffany employed a team of skilled designers and craftspeople who translated his ideas into beautiful objects in a diversity of artistic and decorative mediums. That team included talented women who contributed to every aspect of glasswork, from initial design to creating the final product.
As the next installment in the Goldstein Exhibition Series, Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature follows a 2022 exhibition that featured the work of contemporary photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and singer‐songwriter, poet, author, and artist Patti Smith.
“We strive to do two things with our Goldstein Exhibition Series in order to engage and edify our audiences,” said Rominiecki. “When it comes to the artists we feature, we jump back and forth in time and across genres, which keeps the series fresh. We also look for the unfamiliar in an artist’s work and sometimes discover surprising connections to nature. I’m excited to see how our team at Selby Gardens will interpret Tiffany’s celebrated body of work.”
Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature will be on view at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus from February 12 through June 25, 2023. A rich schedule of educational programs and special events will be developed to complement the exhibition. Please check the Gardens’ website for further details closer to the opening.
Presenting sponsor is Drs. Joel Morganroth and Gail Morrison Morganroth. Lead sponsors include Amicus Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Steinwachs Family Foundation, and Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Major sponsors include Beverly and Bob Bartner, Better‐Gro, BMO Wealth Management, Ed and Betsy Cohen/Aréte Foundation, and Carole Crosby and Larry Wickless. Supporting sponsors include James and Maryann Armour Foundation, Jean Weidner Goldstein, Teri A Hansen, Cornelia and J. Richard Matson, Keith Monda and Veronica Brady, Jennifer O. and Rob Rominiecki, Hobart and Janis Swan, Marcia Jean Taub and Peter Swain, and Williams Parker Attorneys at Law. Garden Vignette sponsor is Marcy and Michael Klein. The exhibition is also sponsored in part by The State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and it is paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenue.
Images of select Tiffany pieces that will be on loan from a private collection for display in the exhibition can be downloaded from the link below. Required credit: Courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
A short video of a conceptual rendering that illustrates an outdoor horticultural vignette inspired by a classic Tiffany stained-glass lampshade can be viewed at the link below.
Required credit: Courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
About Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. Established in 1973 by forward‐thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15‐acre Downtown Sarasota campus and the 30‐acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The Downtown Sarasota campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment. The Historic Spanish Point campus is located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay. One of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, it celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a Smithsonian Affiliate and is also accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. For more information visit www.selby.org.
Conceptual design rendering of an outdoor horticultural vignette, Selby Gardens horticulture staff, 2022. Courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
This artistic rendering illustrates the concept of an outdoor vignette inspired by a classic Tiffany stained-glass lampshade. Installed on a small lawn overlooking Sarasota Bay, the temporary, custom-built structure suggests the frame of the lampshade, while large flowers cut from translucent acrylic evoke stained glass. Sunlight streaming through the flowers will cast colorful shades on elaborate display plantings, a fountain, and visitors inside the “lampshade.”
Clematis vine window, Tiffany Studios, New York, c. 1906. height: 93.5 inches / width: 36 inches. Courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
A leaded glass window depicting a clematis vine growing over a trellis above a columned arbor and balustrade.
Laburnum lamp, Tiffany Studios, New York, early 1900s. height: 26 inches (approx.) / diameter: 22 inches (approx.). Courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
A bronze and leaded glass lamp with a contoured shade of pendulous golden flowers of the laburnum tree.
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