Sunset in Autumn Woods
On View: Decorative Art, 4th Floor
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933) revolutionized the art of stained-glass windows in late nineteenth-century America and led America to the forefront of this art form. His relentless pursuit of a brilliant range of color meant endless experiments with adding metal oxides to the basic glass and manipulating and layering the finished product to produce just the right effect in a completed window. "My chemists and furnace men insisted for a long time that it was impossible to achieve the effect we were striving for," he wrote. "New-style firing ovens had to be built and new methods devised for annealing glass. It took me thirty years to learn the art." But the quest paid off and Tiffany windows became world-renowned. By the turn of the century, with a surge in church construction, Tiffany windows were in great demand.
The windows on displayed here were produced during this period. Originally made in 1905 for the Universalist Church of Our Father at Classon and Atlantic Avenues in Brooklyn, the windows were purchased by the All Souls Universalist Church on Ocean Avenue and installed in its sanctuary in 1945, where they remained until they came to the Brooklyn Museum.
On the one hand, the windows are realistic representations of two sylvan landscapes, using the inherent properties of translucent colored glass to capture the subtle effects of changing light at dawn and dusk. On the other hand, in depicting a springtime wood at sunrise and an autumn wood at sunset, they also constitute an allegory of life and the passage of time.
Stained glass window
approx.: 150 x 43 in. (381 x 109.2 cm) (show scale)
Gift of All Souls Bethlehem Church
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Tiffany Studios (1902-1932). Sunset in Autumn Woods, 1905. Stained glass window, approx.: 150 x 43 in. (381 x 109.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of All Souls Bethlehem Church, 2014.17.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 2014.17.1_2014.17.2_edited_version_SL3.jpg)
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