Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Clara Driscoll: Vitreous Painting on Glass

Clara Driscoll, Vitreous Painting on Glass, 8 x 10"

Clara Driscoll (1861–1944) of Tallmadge, Ohio was director of the Tiffany Studios' Women's Glass Cutting Department (the "Tiffany Girls"), in New York City. They chose the colors and type of glass to be used in the studios' famous glass items. Before her arrival the lamps had a static and geometric look and feel. As the creative force behind the Tiffany lamp she was director, designer and crafter of the more than thirty Tiffany lamps produced by the company; among them the famous Wisteria, Dragonfly, Peony, and from all accounts her first, the Daffodil.

Virtually nothing was known about Driscoll until quite recently. It had always been thought that Louis Comfort Tiffany was the chief designer behind the greatest of the Tiffany leaded lamps. It was Clara Driscoll and the "Tiffany Girls" who had created many of the Tiffany lamps originally attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany and his staff of male designers. Meaningless on their own, when put in order they bring to life an exquisite object, just as the show itself, a puzzle now assembled, illuminates the talented women who had long stood in the shadow of a celebrated man.

The book A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls by Margi Hofer, Martin Eidelberg, and Nina Gray was published in 2007. It "presents celebrated works of Tiffany Studios in an entirely new context, focusing on the women who labored behind the scenes to create the masterpieces now inextricably linked to the Tiffany name.

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