Hair Ornament

Louis C. Tiffany American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 743

This hair ornament is one of the most remarkable works by Louis C. Tiffany, an artist who worked in virtually every media and is especially known for his leaded-glass windows and floral lampshades. Tiffany embarked on the design and fabrication of artistic jewelry just after the turn of the century and debuted it at the Pan-American Exposition in St. Louis in 1904. His earliest works are extraordinary evocations of nature, the artist’s muse throughout his long and productive career. Here, capturing an ephemeral moment, two dragonflies alight on dandelion seed balls, one of which is partially blown away. Tiffany found beauty in one of the most common plants, seen not at the height of bloom but in a natural fading state, just before the seeds are scattered. The dragonflies feature shimmering black opals along their backs and dazzling pink opals as the heads, their coloristic properties evoking Tiffany’s famed iridescent glass. Their delicate, gossamer-like filigree wings were likely intended to have slight movement—en tremblant—when the wearer turned her head. The hair ornament was originally owned by and descended in the family of Louisine Havemeyer, one of Tiffany's most ardent patrons and a noted avant-garde collector of modern French painting.

Hair Ornament, Louis C. Tiffany (American, New York 1848–1933 New York), Gold, silver, platinum, black opals, boulder opals, demantoid garnets, rubies, enamel., American

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