Morse Museum Will Loan Tiffany Objects to Major Exhibition at The Metropolitan

WINTER PARK, Fla., June 23 /PRNewswire/ — The Morse Museum announced today that it will loan more than a hundred objects from its rare Tiffany collection to Louis Comfort Tiffany and Laurelton Hall, a major exhibition organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with the Morse.

The Metropolitan Museum exhibition opening in November 2006 in New York focuses on Tiffany’s vast country estate, Laurelton Hall, built between 1902 and 1905 on Long Island. Tiffany, the son of jewelry magnate Charles Lewis Tiffany, was one of the most prolific designers of the late 19th century and drew much of his artistic inspiration from nature. The Morse will loan 114 objects from its collection, including windows, furnishings, and architectural elements from Laurelton Hall. Some of these objects are now on exhibit in three galleries at the Morse, but others are seldom-seen works from the collection that have been in storage for future conservation and exhibition.

“The Morse is deeply honored and very proud to be a part of this exhibition, both as the major lender and a collaborator,” Morse Museum Director Laurence J. Ruggiero said. “The Met is America’s Louvre, and this collaboration is the brass ring. We are just thrilled to be participating in the project.”

Most of the objects will remain on exhibition at the Morse until September 1, when they will be removed for packing and eventual transport to New York.

Laurelton Hall often has been cited as Tiffany’s most important work, and the curator of the Metropolitan exhibition is convinced the New York show will be “extraordinarily popular.”

“People love Tiffany, and this story has a romance to it, and it has a strong New York link,” said Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, the Metropolitan Museum’s Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator, Department of American Decorative Arts. “The reason we are doing this show is that it’s an important subject . . . and it will reveal a great deal about this artist in a new way to the public.”

Ms. Frelinghuysen is the nation’s premier authority on Louis Comfort Tiffany, and she will author a book to accompany the exhibition, which will include an essay contribution by Morse Collections Manager Jennifer Thalheimer.

The Morse is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including the largest single collection anywhere of surviving materials from his Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall. Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean, who built the collections of the Museum over a 50-year period, salvaged architectural elements and windows from the mansion after it was destroyed by fire in 1957.

“Thanks to the McKeans, Laurelton Hall will be reborn out of the ashes,” Frelinghuyssen said. “Most of the public is aware of Tiffany’s windows and lampshades and breathtaking blown-glass vases, but it’s been my view that among his greatest contributions has been the integration of all of his arts into interior settings. The ones he did for himself are the purest distillation of this man’s art.”

The Morse Museum’s loan of Tiffany objects to the more than 9,000 square- foot show at the Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall includes 20 major windows, eight lighting fixtures, eight paintings or works on paper, and 20 glass, ceramic, and enamel works that were exhibited throughout the house. Significantly, the loan also includes Laurelton Hall’s Daffodil Terrace, which will be reassembled for the first time since the surviving elements were removed from the estate by the McKeans.

In support of the exhibition, the Morse advanced its conservation schedule for both the Daffodil Terrace and the marble and glass-mosaic chimney breast from the Laurelton Hall dining room, which will be reunited with the original carpet, ceiling fixture and furnishings from the room. Conservation of the Daffodil Terrace, an estimated 17-foot by 24-foot outdoor space, involves the complex reassembly of eight 11-foot marble columns topped with glass daffodils, four large iridescent glass panels in a pear tree motif, and more than 600 wood elements and terra cotta relief-decorated tiles from the coffered ceiling.

One of the many benefits of the Metropolitan’s exhibition for the Morse and the community, according to Dr. Ruggiero, is that it has given the Morse the chance to address these objects on an earlier schedule for future installation in Winter Park. Another considerable benefit of the collaboration is the opportunity it presents the Morse to receive consultation on the collection from the Metropolitan’s staff, who include some of the finest object conservators in the world, he said.

Jeannette G. McKean (1909-1989) founded the Museum in 1942, naming it in honor of her industrialist grandfather, Charles Hosmer Morse. Hugh F. McKean (1908-1995) was the Museum’s director for 53 years. At the invitation of a Tiffany daughter in 1957, the McKeans traveled to Laurelton Hall to rescue what they could after a fire left the house in ruins.

Deinstallation of the Laurelton Hall objects from the Morse’s galleries is expected to be completed by mid-September. The Morse will present a new exhibition of Tiffany objects from those in storage for the period of time the Museum’s Laurelton Hall materials are away. The exhibition will feature some familiar objects, such as Tiffany’s famed leaded-glass lamps, some objects that have not been on view for several years, and some that will be conserved especially for the new installation.

The Morse Museum, located at 445 N. Park Ave. in Winter Park, is owned and operated by the Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation and receives additional support from the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation. It receives no public funds. For more information, call 407/645-5311 or visit http://www.morsemuseum.org/ .

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