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 will showcase the creativity and innovation of the American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. It marks the seventh edition of Selby Gardens’ annual Goldstein Exhibition, which examines the work of major artists through the lens of their connection to nature.
“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 & CEO Jennifer O. Rominiecki. “We are excited to celebrate Tiffany’s beloved art and more deeply explore his unique aesthetic in the context of our botanical garden setting.”
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) 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. Tiffany was closely associated with Art Nouveau, an international style of art and design characterized by organic line and natural form. He began his career as a painter, but later turned his attention to decorative arts, particularly stained glass, for which he became best known.
Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature will be the first exhibition of its type to be presented in a botanical garden, an especially appropriate setting in which to highlight the connection between Tiffany’s work and the natural world. Tiffany’s celebrated stained-glass windows and lamps will inspire stunning horticultural displays in Selby Gardens’ world-famous Tropical Conservatory and throughout the grounds of its 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus. Kaleidoscopic vignettes of flowers and foliage will play with light, color, and material to create a truly immersive experience for visitors.
Accompanying the horticultural displays will be outstanding examples of Tiffany’s work, in various media, on view in the Museum of Botany & the Arts. Generously lent from a private collection, this remarkable group of lamps, vases, and other objects will be used to tell the story of Tiffany and his firm, which revolutionized glassmaking and elevated the status of American decorative arts at home and abroad.
As the next installment in the Goldstein Exhibition Series, the show 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 in order to engage and educate our audience,” 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 its sometimes surprising connections to nature. I’m excited to see how our team at Selby Gardens will illuminate Tiffany’s celebrated body of work.”
One thread of the Tiffany story that Rominiecki expects to explore is the group of often unnamed artisans who helped Tiffany achieve his vision. “Tiffany employed a team of skilled designers and craftspeople, who translated his ideas into beautiful objects of almost every artistic and decorative medium,” she said. “That team included several talented women, who contributed to every aspect of glasswork, from initial design to final product. And he encouraged his team to look to nature—from dragonflies to daffodils—and to interpret it imaginatively.”
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 show.
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 James and Maryann Armour Foundation, Beverly and Bob Bartner, Better-Gro, Ed and Betsy Cohen/Arête Foundation, Carole Crosby and Larry Wickless, and Keith Monda and Veronica Brady. Garden Vignette sponsor is Marcy and Michael Klein. Supporting sponsors include Jean Weidner Goldstein, Teri A Hansen, Cornelia and J. Richard Matson, Jennifer and Rob Rominiecki, Hobart and Janis Swan, Marcia Jean Taub and Peter Swain. 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.