AAA Editor Notes
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, 445 N. Park Ave., contains a comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, a celebrated and influential designer of the late 19th and early 20th century. In addition to the brilliant jewel-toned leaded-glass lamps and windows the talented artist is best known for, visitors will find objets d'art such as Tiffany jewelry exquisitely handcrafted of enamel and semiprecious gems circa 1905-20, and detailed drawings and oil paintings created by Tiffany. The collection also features blown-glass pieces including vases in the forms of pansies, lilies and carnations as well as wine and liqueur glasses, all in resplendent shades of violet, gold, ruby, aqua and rose.
A highlight is the Byzantine-Romanesque chapel Tiffany designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, a masterpiece that includes a baptistery, a 1,000-pound cross-shaped chandelier, 16 mosaic columns, a mosaic altar and stained-glass windows.
Many of the stained-glass windows on exhibit were installed at Laurelton Hall, Tiffany's country estate built on Long Island 1902-05. The estate burned down in 1957, but many pieces were rescued from the ruins by Hugh and Jeannette McKean, the Winter Park couple who assembled the Morse collection. Painstakingly restored to their original splendor, these treasures are on display in the museum's Laurelton Hall wing.
The exhibit features pieces that provide insight into the lifestyle of the wealthy in the early 20th century, including partially re-created rooms from Laurelton Hall that include many original pieces. The re-created dining room holds an original rug patterned with dark blue medallions as well as two replicas that visitors may walk on. The room also includes original leaded-glass windows in a wisteria design that features stunning shades of purple and green.
In another large room, the striking Daffodil Terrace contains eight 11-foot-tall columns topped with yellow and green glass daffodils that support a coffered ceiling under which Tiffany and his guests may have enjoyed a cool spring breeze. A cell phone audio tour of Laurelton Hall is available.
The museum's permanent collection also includes late 19th- and 20th-century Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau furnishings, American art pottery, American paintings and decorative art.
Photography, backpacks, large bags and large strollers are not permitted in the building.
Guided tours are available. Time: Allow 1 hour minimum.