Clara and Mr. Tiffany : a novel

by Vreeland, Susan.

Format: Print Book 2011
Availability: Available at 28 Libraries 28 of 28 copies
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Summary
Against the unforgettable backdrop of New York near the turn of the twentieth century, from the Gilded Age world of formal balls and opera to the immigrant poverty of the Lower East Side, bestselling author Susan Vreeland again breathes life into a work of art in this extraordinary novel, which brings a woman once lost in the shadows into vivid color.

It's 1893, and at the Chicago World's Fair, Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative stained-glass windows, which he hopes will honor his family business and earn him a place on the international artistic stage. But behind the scenes in his New York studio is the freethinking Clara Driscoll, head of his women's division. Publicly unrecognized by Tiffany, Clara conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which he is long remembered.

Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that she faces as a professional woman, which ultimately force her to protest against the company she has worked so hard to cultivate. She also yearns for love and companionship, and is devoted in different ways to five men, including Tiffany, who enforces to a strict policy: he does not hire married women, and any who do marry while under his employ must resign immediately. Eventually, like many women, Clara must decide what makes her happiest--the professional world of her hands or the personal world of her heart.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* The first thing to be said about a Vreeland novel is that the reader learns a lot from it, but the joy and delight of a Vreeland novel is that the knowledge gleaned from her beautifully articulate pages is not forced on you, not delivered as if from a podium. Welcome here to the world of Clara Driscoll, whom Vreeland has brought to light from the archives of Tiffany Glass Company to establish what is most probably her rightful place in the history of American decorative arts. This deep-reaching novel is based on the likelihood that Clara conceived the famous Tiffany leaded-glass lamp shade, which has come down from the early years of the twentieth century as the epitome of the creativity in glass for which the Tiffany outfit was known. Clara worked in the women's studio for founder Louis Tiffany himself and struggled against the anti-female bias of the company like that of any other company of the time, for that matter to position herself as a first-rate artisan in her boss' eyes. Plus, Vreeland takes Clara out of the workplace to give her a personal life quite suitable for not only the time but also her strong personality. There's no excuse for any reader of high-quality literary fiction to let this novel pass by. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Vreeland will appear as a panelist at the ALA/ERT/Booklist Author Forum at ALA's Midwinter Conference in January, and librarian interest will be supercharged by that event.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Vreeland (Luncheon of the Boating Party) again excavates the life behind a famous artistic creation-in this case the Tiffany leaded-glass lamp, the brainchild not of Louis Comfort Tiffany but his glass studio manager, Clara Driscoll. Tiffany staffs his studio with female artisans-a decision that protects him from strikes by the all-male union-but refuses to employ women who are married. Lucky for him, Clara's romantic misfortunes-her husband's death, the disappearance of another suitor-insure that she can continue to craft the jewel-toned glass windows and lamps that catch both her eye and her imagination. Behind the scenes she makes her mark as an artist and champion of her workers, while living in an eclectic Irving Place boarding house populated by actors and artists. Vreeland ably captures Gilded Age New York and its atmosphere-robber barons, sweatshops, colorful characters, ateliers-but her preoccupation with the larger historical story comes at the expense of Clara, whose arc, while considered and nicely told, reflects the times too closely in its standard-issue woman-behind-the-man scenario. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Driscoll, Clara, -- 1861-1944 -- Fiction.
Tiffany, Louis Comfort, -- 1848-1933 -- Fiction.
Tiffany and Company -- History -- Fiction.
Women glass artists -- Fiction.
Biographical fiction.
Publisher New York :Random House,2011
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description xiii, 405 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 9781400068166 (hc : alk. paper)
1400068169 (hc : alk. paper)
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