American Art · American Art of the Week · Art History

American Art of the Week: Camel Grazing at Mosque by Louis Comfort Tiffany

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Grazing Camel at Mosque by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Oil on canvas. Exhibited at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Photo by Daderot (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons [Public domain or CC0].
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) is world famous for his works in stained glass and other decorative arts, as well as for founding Tiffany Studios. However, did you also know that he was an accomplished painter? While that doesn’t come as a complete surprise to me, of course, I had never really focused on that fact until one of Tiffany’s paintings came up during some of my recent research into the art exhibitions at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

The well-travelled Tiffany visited North Africa between 1870 and 1871, during the time that he was still primarily focused on painting, and he made many images of the local life and culture such as this one. * His use of color and emphasis on architecture seem to foreshadow his future work in both stained glass windows and his famous Tiffany lamps. I especially love the contrasting pastel colors of the distant landscape to the right and the rich, almost opalescent tonalities on the men’s clothing seen through the mosque’s doorway.

*Frelinghuysen, Alice Cooney, and Monica Obniski. “Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933).” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–.  (July 2007).

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