During the second half of the nineteenth century, iridescence—the optical light phenomenon natural to seashells, butterfly wings, and peacock feathers—captured the interest of glassmakers and potters in both Europe and America. The enthusiasm for mimicking these color-changing effects followed exciting discoveries of antique glass that had become iridescent after centuries of burial within mineral-rich soils. The premier decorative art studios of the West, notably Louis Comfort Tiffany’s firm in the United States and Glasfabrik Johann Loetz Witwe in Europe, developed chemical techniques to reproduce iridescent rainbow colors on par with nature. In this exhibition, the Museum celebrates iridescence through diverse examples from these and other companies of the era represented in its collection.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website