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“Light and Color” Influence of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Early Travels

Cameel Halim

Cameel Halim is a respected Chicago real estate executive who has been collecting antique timepieces for decades. Established by Cameel Halim and his family, the newly opened Halim Time & Glass Museum features these rare clocks and watches as well as a full complement of American stained glass pieces from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany including watercolors, pastels, and oils that bring focus to the influential early travels of the Art Nouveau pioneer. Before making his mark as a decorator, Tiffany studied at the National Academy of Design in New York and worked under visual artists such as Samuel Colman and George Inness.

By the late 1860s Tiffany had seen his work exhibited at the National Academy, and in 1868 he embarked on around-the world travels that took in Paris, Spain, and North Africa. The stay in Paris included formal studies under Leon-Adolphe-Auguste Belly, while his time in Africa and Spain exposed him to new cultural influences and tonal possibilities.
Returning to the United States, Tiffany’s new painting style was categorized as "American Orientalist,” although he was unique in hearkening back to Baroque masters such as Claude Lorrain and Peter Paul Rubens in the influence of color and light on his work. Ultimately, it was these elements that were fundamental in defining his groundbreaking explorations in stained glass technique.

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