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Candace Wheeler: The Art and Enterprise of American Design, 1875–1900

October 10, 2001–January 6, 2002

Co-Founder of Tiffany & Wheeler

In 1879, Wheeler, then fifty-two years of age, co-founded the interior-decorating firm of Tiffany & Wheeler with legendary designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. Wheeler served as the partner specializing in textiles. This firm and the firm that grew out of it in 1880—Louis C. Tiffany & Company, Associated Artists—decorated some of New York City's most important houses and public buildings. These include the Veterans' Room of the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York City (still extant), the Madison Square Theatre, The Union League Club, the George Kemp house, and the drawing room of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II house. The interiors of Mark Twain's Hartford home—today a house museum open to the public—were also designed by Tiffany, Wheeler, and other members of Associated Artists.

Period photographs and prints of these projects, and a rare surviving "Arabian-style" armchair (attributed to Tiffany, ca. 1879) are on view in this section of "Candace Wheeler." The chair, from the parlor of the Kemp house, is made of pale holly wood with inlays of darker wood, and was inspired by furniture from Egypt and the Near East. It typifies the exotic sensibility of Tiffany's earliest interiors. An example of one of the first manufactured textiles that can be attributed to Tiffany and Wheeler, an opulent piece of gold and pale blue silk damask in a thistle pattern (1881), custom-made for the main salon of a yacht, is also being shown in this section of the exhibition.