NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Tiffany School opened fall 2016 on the former site of the Tiffany Studios facility in Corona, Queens, owned and operated by famed American artist Louis C. Tiffany (1848–1933). Public Art for Public Schools (PAPS) commissioned a site-specific permanent artwork for the school lobby by visual artist Rita McBride made from the glass shards found on the site. The remaining glass shards were donated to The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass by the New York City School Construction Authority (“SCA”), in honor of former NYC Department of Education Deputy Chancellor, Kathleen Grimm. The Neustadt is a Queens-based nonprofit arts organization founded by Dr. Egon Neustadt, an early Tiffany collector who amassed the largest and most important collection of Tiffany lamps ever assembled.
“This is an exciting gift that deepens our understanding of the innovative materials used by the Tiffany Studios to produce their famous windows and lampshades. We are proud to share this important historical connection with The Tiffany School and to be bound together by the Tiffany legacy,” explained Lindsy Parrott, director and curator of The Neustadt. “It’s even more special that the gift was announced in time for Louis C. Tiffany’s birthday—February 18.”
In preparing to build the new elementary school, the SCA discovered a cache of opalescent glass where Tiffany’s large complex of studios and workshops once stood in Corona, across the street from his renowned glass furnaces. PAPS, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art program, commissioned Rita McBride to create an installation for the new school building using the excavated Tiffany glass. “Upon completion of Rita’s artwork, Artifacts (C.W.D.), the remaining unused glass was donated to The Neustadt. We are thrilled the recovered shards have been given new life both in the artwork and as part of The Neustadt’s collection,” stated Tania Duvergne, director, Public Art for Public Schools.
PAPS, a unit of the SCA, commissions new permanent artwork for new building projects and maintains the existing art in the New York City Department of Education’s collection.
Prior to the donation, The Neustadt team examined the cache of glass from The Tiffany School site and pieced together clues to reveal the glass had been used by Tiffany’s Shade Department. Both the types and colors of the excavated glass—significant quantities of green and white “streaky,” plus a colorful assortment of “ripple” and “granite” glass—are consistent with the palette and textures used in Tiffany’s lampshades. Small pieces of cut glass, many of which are rectangular in shape and correspond to Tiffany’s geometric shades, were also discovered. The Neustadt was particularly excited to identify pieces of cut glass matching the popular “Vine Border” lamp –three examples of which are included in its collection.
Examples of this glass will be included in future exhibitions in The Neustadt Gallery at the Queens Museum in an ongoing effort to highlight and explore Tiffany’s Corona connection. The School Construction Authority’s donation will become part of The Neustadt’s one-of-a-kind archive of more than a quarter of a million examples of flat glass and “jewels” that capture the extraordinary array of colors, patterns, textures, and opacities of glass used by the Tiffany Studios. The glass ranges from full, uncut sheets to shards the size of a fingernail. The vast inventory of glass was part of the liquidation sale when Tiffany’s closed, which was later purchased in its entirety by Dr. Neustadt. Today, The Neustadt is in the process of sorting, cataloguing, and archiving this glass for the purpose of preservation and future study.
“Louis C. Tiffany’s development and use of opalescent sheet glass is one of America’s most important contributions to the history of art—the introduction of which transformed the centuries-old art of stained glass,” explained Parrott. “The glass discovered at The Tiffany School site has great historic value because only a finite amount of this original, unused material exists.”
Since 1995, The Neustadt has partnered with the Queens Museum to share its collection with the New York metropolitan area through a permanent Tiffany gallery and educational programming. This partnership has special significance because Tiffany’s glass furnaces, bronze foundry and workshops were located in Corona, Queens, less than two miles from the Museum. In addition, The Neustadt travels special exhibitions to museums nationwide.
Photos available upon request.