Tiffany Glass Treasures on Display in New York City

07 September, 2018

Deep inside an industrial neighborhood in New York City is an ordinary building containing an extraordinary treasure. It is the home of The Neustadt Tiffany Glass Archive. It holds the world's largest collection of Tiffany glass, with almost 250,000 pieces of all shapes and sizes.

Stained glass has been produced for centuries. The colorful windows created during the 15th century are famous examples of the material's beauty.

In the late 19th century American artist Louis Comfort Tiffany turned from painting to working with stained glass. He designed windows for homes and other buildings. The style became very popular.

Tiffany also made other stained glass objects, including lamps. The deep, rich colored glass would shine when the lamp was lit. The lamps became a major part of the Art Nouveau period of design, between about 1890 and 1930.

Tiffany became the first director of design at his father's now very famous jewelry store in New York City, Tiffany and Company.

Louis Tiffany designed several rooms in The White House and included stained glass. In 1911, he created a huge glass curtain for the main theater in Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts. Tiffany reportedly used one million pieces of glass in the work. It is considered his masterpiece.

Collectors Egon and Hildegard Neustadt founded the collection in 1969. The Austrians had immigrated to America with little money. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the couple found a Tiffany lamp in a used goods store in New York City. They paid $12.50 for the flower-shaped lamp.

Dr. Egon Neustadt among his Tiffany lamps, installed in his
Dr. Egon Neustadt among his Tiffany lamps, installed in his "apartment-museum," originally located in his townhouse on New York's Upper East Side.

A love for Tiffany glass

The Neustadts began to build a collection of more than 200 Tiffany light covers - each one a different flower or bird.

Later, when Tiffany's closed down its glass factory, the Neustadts bought large pieces of colored glass at the factory.

Lindsy Parrott is the director of the collection.

"The thing that's really important about The Neustadts Tiffany Glass Archive is that it documents this unbelievable chapter in the history of stained glass."

Tiffany's factory was in the New York City area of Queens. The building containing the Tiffany Glass Archive will open for visitors later this year. There are pieces of wavy blue glass representing water, drapery glass that looks like flowing fabric and small glass jewels among the pieces.

The Neustadt Gallery will share some of these glass treasures in a show at the Queens Museum, beginning October 7.

I'm Caty Weaver.

VOA's Julie Taboh reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

stained glass adj.colored glass that is used to make pictures and patterns in windows

cathedraln.a very large church

lampn.a device that produces light

curtain n. a very large piece of cloth that hangs at the front of a stage and that is raised when a performance begins and lowered when a performance ends artist's greatest work

lampn.a device that produces light

chapter n.the next stage or event

fabric n.material used to make clothing and other things