The Metropolitan Museum of New York acquires a large Tiffany window by Agnes Northrop

Major acquisition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York: comes a large Tiffany window from 1912, designed entirely by a woman, Agnes Northrop, a rarity for the time.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announced today the acquisition of a monumental three-part Tiffany window, entitled Garden Landscape. The window, more than ten feet wide and nearly seven feet high, was designed by Agnes Northrop in the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany. The attribution is based on a signed drawing for the central panel (the drawing was already in the Met’s collection). The window will be installed in Charles Engelhard Court beginning in November 2024 and will be spectacularly framed by columns from Laurelton Hall, Tiffany’s country estate on Long Island. The acquisition was made possible by resources provided by several donors.

The window was originally commissioned by Pittsburgh businesswoman and philanthropist Sarah Cochran for Linden Hall, the large estate she built in 1912 in Dawson, Pennsylvania. She herself had personally requested the subject of the window, which depicts a lush landscape and garden reminiscent of that of the estate, with tall, majestic pine trees flanking a central fountain surrounded by flowers: pink and blue hydrangeas, poppies, and nasturtiums. The two side panels depict, on the left, foxglove and peonies, and on the right, mallows, exquisitely rendered in glass.

Agnes Northrop was one of the most prominent designers employed by Tiffany, as well as its principal designer. In an industry dominated by men, Northrop established herself among the leading window designers and was recognized for her work by winning a prestigious award at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900. Northrop and Tiffany pioneered new subjects for landscapes and gardens for stained glass windows, and the window reveals Northrop’s careful observations of nature and his gift for translating it into glass. In this case, Northrop took advantage of the various textures, colors and light effects that were only possible with Tiffany’s special Favrile glass, made at its furnaces in Corona, Queens, using particularly innovative and unusual techniques, some unique to a stained glass window. The ingenious selection of glass and the cutting of the glass into thousands of pieces of almost impossible shapes were carried out by Tiffany’s skilled artisans, also largely women. Tiffany considered the Linden Hall window so important that she put it on public display in her New York showroom before shipping it to Cochran’s home in Pennsylvania.

Max Hollein, French Director and CEO of the Met’s Marina Kellen, said, “This extraordinary work of art is an outstanding example of the transformative creativity of Agnes Northrop and Tiffany Studios. Magnificent in concept and execution and more than grand in scale, it expands Tiffany’s core in the American Wing and will enhance the already extraordinary Engelhard Court with a powerful and immersive visual experience.”

Sylvia Yount, curator in charge of the American Wing, says, “Northrop’s extraordinary environmental work further strengthens our representation of women artists in the American Wing and allows us to share broader stories of early 20th century culture with our visitors.”

Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, curator of American decorative arts, says, “This extraordinary evocation of a garden landscape is Northrop’s masterpiece. Made during the height of Louis Tiffany’s career, it was conceived, commissioned and executed by women. Featuring flowers blooming from spring to summer, seen in the enigmatic light of approaching twilight, the window presents a lush garden perpetually in bloom.”

The Metropolitan Museum of New York acquires a large Tiffany window by Agnes Northrop
The Metropolitan Museum of New York acquires a large Tiffany window by Agnes Northrop

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