Clara and Mr. Tiffany

Clara and Mr. Tiffany

by Susan Vreeland
3.6 106

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Overview

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

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 that he hopes will 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, who conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which Tiffany will long be remembered. Never publicly acknowledged, Clara struggles with her desire for artistic recognition and the seemingly insurmountable challenges that she faces as a professional woman. She also yearns for love and companionship, and is devoted in different ways to five men, including Tiffany, who enforces a strict policy: He does not employ married women. Ultimately, Clara must decide what makes her happiest—the professional world of her hands or the personal world of her heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679604518
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/11/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 13,032
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Susan Vreeland is the New York Times bestselling author of eight books, including Clara and Mr. Tiffany and Girl in Hyacinth Blue. She died in 2017.

Hometown:

San Diego, California

Date of Birth:

January 20, 1946

Place of Birth:

Racine, Wisconsin

Education:

San Diego State University

Customer Reviews

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Clara and Mr. Tiffany 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 106 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Louis Comfort Tiffany hires unmarried women as his artists to avoid the strikes that men are prone to conduct. His New York glass studio manager Clara Driscoll is a widow with a series of romantic tragedies besides her husband's death. Clara does her best to insure her talented female crew is taken care of properly. In 1893 Tiffany presents the stained glass collection at the Chicago World's Fair. He takes all the accolades failing to mention the genius he left behind in New York. Clara enjoys living amidst the Gilded Age New York artist community, but wishes her contribution as the creator of the stained glass lampshades that have made Tiffany's famous would also bring her renown. The credit for the innovation goes to Tiffany, but Clara lives with that as her employer encourages her and her girls to create even if it negatively impacts profits. She also wishes for a man who was devoted to her as she has been to Tiffany and others. This is an engaging historical that bases the storyline on the premise that Driscoll was the artistic genius not Tiffany although history and the then late nineteenth century gave all the kudos to the man. Thus the reader obtains a sense of time and place as society praises Tiffany but ignores his female workshop and its brilliant leader. Readers who enjoy something different will relish the tale of the woman behind the famous man. Harriet Klausner
BiblioChic More than 1 year ago
Our book club enjoyed this book, each of us for a slightly different reason. We all found it easy to read and quite entertaining. A few thought the amount of technical detail was a bit much, but it was easy to skim over and get back to the story. Personally, I thought the technical detail was interesting and served to better illustrate Clara's unusual status in what was a man's domain. We all found Vreeland's imagined reconstruction of characters and events to be entirely believable in the context of the actual historic evidence available. The book provided interesting, unexpected glimpses into different aspects of life then: the immigrant experience, seaside holidays, medical treatments, the gay community. Bottom line: not necessarily a must-read, but a very worthwhile book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was not only a wonderful experience of how the world of art was for women at the turn of the century but about the life and times of Tiffany and how he built a powerful business and world of beauty from glass!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because I had read her other book "Luncheon of the Boating Party" about Renoir and loved it. Having seen a Tiffany lamp exhibit in a museum, I was very interested in reading this book when I saw that it was about the women behind the art of Tiffany. Those who appreciate art for art's sake and the beauty of Tiffany glass will find this book very entertaining.
StephanieCowell More than 1 year ago
Susan Vreeland has chosen old New York for the setting of her latest novel and a fascinating world it is from the immigrant families huddled in tenements to the wealthy such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, heir to his self-made jeweler father and determined to utterly rule his world of colored glass windows and lamps. He is an old New York autocrat, allowing women to work for him in a women's department (it would be immoral to allow them to work with the men!), paying modest wages and exacting a terrible price on their employment: they cannot marry. He will not have their loyalties divided between the glitter of his glass and their needs as wives. The book is narrated by Clara, a middle-class creative woman who has to constantly remake her choice between her need for love and her need to work in Tiffany's brilliant shadow. She is one of the bright creators of his firm and in truth he basks in her creativity, taking almost all the credit for her work. Still she fights for the rights of the immigrant women who work under her. As the book progresses, Clara grows stronger. She fights for her girls and against the oppression of the men who would happily close down her department; while Tiffany lives in unbelievable luxury, her home remains a small room in a boarding house. Many of Susan Vreeland's portrayals of the immigrant girls and their strong spirits (or sometimes broken spirits) are breathtaking in their clarity and wisdom. Particularly luminous is her portrait of an idealistic male social worker who seems to take on every burden of the poor before he turns a startlingly different way. Tiffany also falls into loneliness while Clara goes steadfastly onward: learning, creating, inspiring others and making new designs for Tiffany lamps and new pathways in her world for herself and the many people she loves. Another wonderful novel about the creative arts from this very gifted author. (I am the author of CLAUDE & CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF MONET and MARRYING MOZART.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As I read this well researched book I wished that I had visited the Tiffany Museum in Winter Park, FL, after reading Clara and Tiffany. The story lines of not one, but several, personal relationships, the process for making stained glass art objects, to labor relations and women's struggle to get and keep jobs is a great read. Visiting the museum enriches one's appreciation for the expertise necessary for making beautiful stained glass art pieces.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting book. I am well-acquainted with the Tiffany lamps and panels but had not had much information previously about Clara Driscoll except as a shadowy figure in the background who had a major impact on the lamp designs but who never got any credit. Contrary to some who found the manufacturing details tedious, I found them very interesting. My appreciation of the skill, talent, and expertise that made the lamps and panels was heightened. Also, Clara Driscoll's management skills went way beyond what was seen elsewhere in the business. Since the women weren't allowed to join the union, they had a greater opportunity to make themselves indispensable to the business. Clara Driscoll was a very liberated woman for her time. Louis C Tiffany's personality was also explored in depth.
MWgal More than 1 year ago
The book is engaging & very well written. It's fun to read about New York city as well as the art of Tiffany.Of course women played more than a pivotal role in what most believe was a man's domain. VERY enjoyable. And, the characters were intriguing as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clara and Mr. Tiffany's relationship is at the core of this novel which talks of art, creation and beauty in the making of stain glass. The reader walks away from the book not only being entertained by it, but also learning a bit about the process of making stained glass. Most importantly, the reader leaves this experience with a reaffirmation of the relationship between art and beauty, it's importance to our lives and it's role in a bit of American history.
Grams1DM More than 1 year ago
For me, this book was very interesting and I learned much about the art of being a glass designer and glass making. It was great to learn how the Tiffany Lamps came about. I liked all the characters in the book and found them entertaining; even though I wished Clara would have acknowledged by the world for all she had done for Mr. Tiffany.
HappyMomNan More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I found Clara a delightful character and appreciated her loyalty to Tiffany. Reading about the making of the Tiffany lamps and windows kept me mesmerized each time I sat down to read. For me this was one of those, "I can't wait to hear what happens next." I also enjoyed reading about the relationships Clara developed with her boarding house friends. The descriptions of New York City and the buildings help my interest. I felt like I was back at the turn of the century. Vreelands gave me a mental picture of the Flat Iron building even before she told the reader its name. So much in this book to hold the interest of the reader. Read the book and make yourself happy!!
Brittany Harrelson More than 1 year ago
Susan Vreeland is one of my favorite authors. When i met her in person, she signed and added a personal message to my copy of The Passion of Artemisia which has become a prized possession. When a new novel of hers is published, I rush out and buy a copy! However, I really struggled with this book. I found the book to be overly technical and I myself have made many stained glass pieces. I found myself bored often and found it to be quite dry. The historical aspect of the book was interesting, but I was left with many questions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it. The characters, the city, the story...an amazing read.
gl More than 1 year ago
In Clara and Mr. Tiffany, Susan Vreeland gives us a glimpse into New York City during the Gilded Age. The novel centers on Clara Driscoll a critically important designer in Louis Comfort Tiffany's Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. Clara designed many of the mosaics and the iconic Tiffany lamps at a time when women were afforded very few employment opportunities. Her work at Tiffany's gave her a chance to focus on art and appreciate beauty and gave her some financial independence but also required that she remain single. Tiffany only hired unmarried women - and once a woman married she had to leave the company. We learn much about what it meant to live and work in America during this time. Vreeland weaves these facts in with such skill that the period and people become real. We read about the Chicago World's Fair, the use of electricity on the grounds, and the impact that Tiffany's stained glass windows had. We can picture the world through Clara's eyes, as she lives on Gramercy Park sharing a house with artists and writers. The Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side, the construction of the Flatiron Building, even Stanford White are all part of the narrative. Clara and Mr. Tiffany combines art, history, American Studies and cultural history but more than anything it is a glimpse into the life of a brave, creative, and tenacious young woman. A fascinating and satisfying read - highly recommended! ISBN-10: 1400068169 - Hardcover Publisher: Random House (January 11, 2011), 432 pages. Review copy provided by the publisher.
Avid_ReaderSG More than 1 year ago
Suspensful, emotional and intriging. Although some of the historical facts may/or may not be accurate this was a page turner. I would recommend this book for a club discussion and look forward to reading other books by this author.
Smokeyglass More than 1 year ago
Although I don't know the accuracy of all the historical detail, I was thoroughly engaged by all of the detail regarding the glasswork. The romantic interest of Edwin was a little short but I didn't find that to be the main story. Excellent read!
peegeePG More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of the era that is depicted in NYC, but I am finding it difficult to wade through this book. There is much wording about the various colors that go into a stained glass piece and it is somewhat technical and , frankly, boring. Clara's interaction within her rooming house cohabitants lacks depth. I find I have to force myself to pick it up and read and that is not the enjoyable experience I wish to have when reading. I will give it a few more chapters to see if it improves.
Anonymous 6 days ago
Highly recommended.
Anonymous 9 months ago
NahvilleReader More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! I loved the creative process depicted in it. I also loved the changing role of women and society at this time. I've recommended it to friends.
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