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Front door to the Henry O. Havemeyer House, New York (one of a pair)

Louis Comfort Tiffany

Artwork Details

Front door to the Henry O. Havemeyer House, New York (one of a pair)
Louis Comfort Tiffany
wood, copper, stone, and favrile glass
100 in x 36 in (254 cm x 91.44 cm)
University Purchase 1930, Transferred to the Museum of Art


March 28, 2009
The exterior of the Havemeyer’s house, designed by Charles Haight in 1889, was a sober stone building that recalled the heavy, medieval-inspired works of Henry Hobson Richardson. The copper-clad exterior of the front doors similarly present a restrained face. The simple design, with glass panels that evoke coffered stone or wood paneling, recalls elements of classical architecture while harmonizing with the exterior stone.
The house’s exterior left the visitor completely unprepared for the sumptuous interior hidden within. The interior of the doors themselves presents an aspect that is lighter: the honey-colored wood is inset with a rich filigree of lead caming and warm-colored stones in addition to a second layer of glass panels. Tiffany had been incorporating stones and other “found” materials into his works since early in his career and it has been suggested that Mrs. Havemeyer herself presented the stones to Tiffany and asked him to incorporate them into the doors. Although it is not known who actually supplied the stones for the doors, this anecdote suggests the close relationship and parallel thinking that linked the patron and artist.

Subject Matter:

The doors from the Havemeyer house present different aspects: on the inside the warm wood tones and stones (traditionally thought to have come from beaches in Long Island and given to Tiffany to incorporate in the doors by Louisine Havemeyer) are lighter and more personal than the copper exterior of the doors. The exterior is darker and conveys the image of strength and security.

Physical Description:

One of a pair of doors that formed an arched entryway. In the upper two thirds of the door are opalescent square glass "coffers" in an arched composition that corresponds to the silhouette of the doors. The interior-facing side of the doors include curvilinear lead caming, inset with medium-sized beach stones, that frame the glass "coffers". The exterior-facing side of the doors has the "coffers" framed by patinated copper sheeting.

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