Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Four Seasons window, c. 1899–1900 at the Morse (Courtesy Morse Museum of American Art)
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park is home to the most comprehensive collection of Louis Tiffany materials in the world. Tiffany’s glass windows, lamps, blown-glass objects, pottery, jewelry, paintings and the original Tiffany chapel interior, which was first on display World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893, are all on display.
Son of the famous jeweler, Louis Tiffany grew up in New York and began experimenting with stained glass in 1875 and later got into other mediums, using his Long Island mansion, Laurelton Hall, as his studio. A Winter Park professor, Hugh McKean, studied with Tiffany in Long Island, and when his estate burned down, McKean helped rescue many of the objects. He returned home and opened a museum in his wife's grandfather's name.
Two new exhibitions at the Morse feature objects from the Art Nouveau movements. Revival & Reform—Eclecticism in the 19th Century-Environment, which presents more than 20 leaded-glass windows and panels that showcase “the Gilded Age’s love affair with leaded glass and its ability to transform light into color,” and Lifelines—Forms and Themes of Art Nouveau, which highlights more than 100 objects from the Morse collection that explore early 20th century artistic themes such as the female form and metamorphosis in nature.
One of the not-to-miss permanent installations is Daffodil Terrace, a glass-enclosed gallery with an outdoor room that overlooks the garden courtyard. Eight 11-foot columns are topped with bouquets of long-stemmed glass daffodils and the coffered ceiling boasts hundreds of stenciled wood elements and molded tiles. Nearby in the dining-room installation, guests will find a domed, leaded-glass chandelier, a 25-foot-long Oriental rug and a suite of six leaded-glass wisteria transoms.
After browsing real Tiffany lamps, stained glass, stop by the attached gift store for pieces inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement. High-quality jewelry, sculpture and glassware are some of the beautiful items for sale and all priced well below the real McCoy.
The museum also has many free events during the entire year such as lectures, tours and film events. Admission on Friday evenings, from 4 pm to 8 pm, is free. On select nights this Spring (March 27 through April 24), the museum offers live music beginning at 5 pm and curator tours of the exhibition Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Laurelton Hall at 7 pm. In addition, Easter weekend, April 2-4, admission is free with public tours offered through the weekend.
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, 445 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407.645.5311