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"Wisteria" Table Lamp

The “Wisteria” lamp model is one of the most iconic lamp designs produced by Tiffany Studios.  Its complex pattern is comprised of nearly 2,000 pieces of glass that had to be individually selected and cut.  Consequently, each "Wisteria" lamp possesses its own distinct color variations.  This particular example has an exquisite range of deep cobalt blue glass, and the lower panicles are selectively accented in rich jewel-toned aqua.  The overall effect achieved by the glass selection is lyrical and full of movement, capturing the lushness of the wisteria vine in bloom.  The shade and base are both impressed with the firm’s production number, 10116, reinforcing that both components originated together from the time of manufacture.  In 1906, the price for a "Wisteria" lamp was $400.00, making it one of the more expensive lamps in Tiffany’s line.  As revered as this luxury item was in the period, the "Wisteria" lamp is now widely recognized as an icon of American design and one of Tiffany Studios’ most accomplished masterworks in leaded glass.  The fully saturated and artistic glass selection of the present example distinguishes it as one of the finest examples ever to appear on the auction market. Shade with small early tag impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORKunderside of bronze armature on shade impressed 10116top of base standard impressed 10116base plate impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/10116outer perimeter edge of underbase impressed 10116 and 1   

  • USAUSA
  • 2013-12-18
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A Rare "Trumpet Creeper" Table Lamp

With a large "Tree" base Shade impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/346-1underside of bronze armature on shade impressed 7879 (partially effaced)base impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/348 Tiffany Studios paired the large "Tree" base with all of their irregular border shades, including the "Trumpet Creeper," "Wisteria," "Grape" and "Apple Blossom" models.  A late 1890s photograph from the study collection of Agnes Northrop depicting trees in Gibraltar with exposed root systems may point to the original source of inspiration for this base design. A Garden of Creepers Trumpet creeper, wisteria, grape, laburnum, clematis—Tiffany loved flowering vines both as a designer and as a gardener.  He admired them not only for the blossoms’ beautiful colors and interesting shapes but also for the way they freely grew across boundaries, “giving a charm and graceful unity to everything.”  Transom windows depicting wisteria enriched rooms in Tiffany’s Madison Avenue mansion and Laurelton Hall. Similar vines crawl across the tops of the many domestic windows that Tiffany Studios executed for clients’ homes across the country such as the magnificent window from the Beltzhoover mansion in Irving-on-the-Hudson where flowering wisteria and clematis vines frame the view (fig. 1). It was a natural progression for Clara Driscoll, the chief designer for his floral lamps, to adapt the idea of a leaded glass wisteria window into a lamp and represent sculpturally the sense of a twisted, creeping vine and pendant leaves and blossoms.  She did this around 1902, and then she went on to create similar lamps with trumpet creeper, grape, and other vines.  The essential form of the shade remained the same, as did the base with its twisted vine stems.  All that need to be adjusted was the pattern of leaves, flowers and branches. The small metal tag with a model number soldered onto the leading inside this shade indicates that this was probably one of the first examples of the Trumpet Creeper shade to be produced.  The tag has both the model number “346” and the suffix “—1.” These so-called “dash numbers” were introduced early on when the lamp business first began to flourish and were nothing more than an accounting system to regulate the stock.  Each pattern was assigned a model number, and then, as the shades were produced, each example was marked with a suffix in numerical sequence.  Thus this shade was the very first one made once the system was introduced.  (Ultimately, though, this system was abandoned and just the model number was attached.) But even without the dash number and without knowing that the lamp had been given as a wedding present in 1906, one might surmise that this was an early example because of the great care taken in the selection of the glass.  Although the flowers of the trumpet creeper are essentially uniform in color, here they are an extraordinarily rich mixture of yellows, oranges and reds, just as the leaves are not merely green but have flashes of yellow and orange.  As in an Impressionist painting, the effect is a rich orchestration of broken color.  Tiffany and his staff were inspired by Nature but ultimately improved and transcended it. -Martin Eidelberg, Co-Author of  The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Author of Tiffany Favrile Glass and the Quest of Beauty and Tiffany Favrile Pottery and the Quest of Beauty

  • USAUSA
  • 2012-12-15
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An Important "Peony" Table Lamp

With a rare "Mosaic and Turtle-Back" tile base Shade impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK 1505-37underside of removable socket cluster unit impressed 2 twicetop interior rim of base impressed 2base plate impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/2674 The present “Peony” shade was purchased from Sotheby’s New York in 2005 paired with an exceptional “Jeweled” base, now being offered by itself in lot 229.  One auction season earlier, the Geyer Family had purchased at Christie’s New York one of Tiffany’s most iconic and spectacular bases, the “Mosaic and Turtle-Back" tile model, which originated at the Tavern Club, a private gentleman’s club in Cleveland, Ohio, where it was paired with a “Geometric” shade and displayed on the library table of the main lounge.  The lamp was given to the club by a member in lieu of payment of dues in 1905, and remained the property of the club until its sale in 2004.  However, not only was the shade battered from years of lighthearted abuse by the members, but the lamp’s presentation was a radical juxtaposition of price and quality.  The base model, recorded in the 1906 Price List as model number 355 and priced at $300, was considerably more expensive than the majority of available shades.  Ordinarily paired with the firm's most premium large-scaled lamp shades, such as the “Hanging Head Dragonfly” (such a lamp is in the collection of The Art Institute of Chicago), or the extremely rare “Landscape” (a famous example was sold at Sotheby’s New York, The Mecom Collection, April 22, 1995, lot 66), the Geyer Family set out to create the quintessential unit and united this sumptuous "Peony" shade with the Tavern Club base. Peony--the Flower of Prosperity, Honor and Romance This magnificent Peony shade must have been executed in the Women’s Glass Cutting Division headed by Clara Driscoll, since she and her “Tiffany Girls” had the prerogative to make all leaded glass shades with floral subjects.  In all probability Driscoll herself designed it, since that was her responsibility and privilege.  Although she did not refer to this model in her many years of correspondence with her family, she designed it before October 1906 since the model (number 1505) is cited in Tiffany Studios’ 1906 Price List. With its lush, overblown blossoms, the Peony shade is one of the firm’s largest and richest designs, offering a wonderful opportunity for the selector to enrich the composition with a wide range of red glass ranging here from pink to red to deep crimson and purple.  This example is particularly rich, not only in color but also in its varied types of mottled and rippled glass, and this may well be due to the fact that it was made early on in production, when greater care was given to each object.  The so-called dash-number tag inside the shade suggests that it was the thirty-seventh example of this design, a measure of its great popularity.  Its popularity was due not only to its colorful floral beauty but also to certain practical concerns:  its generously sized dome, almost two feet wide, allowed great quantities of light to radiate out.  Unlike many of the Tiffany Studios lamps that were more decorative than functional, this model provides ample light for reading.  It is not surprising, then, that in 1910, when there was a general retrenchment in Tiffany Studios’ operations and many designs were discontinued, the Peony shade stayed in production and continued to be offered into the 1920s. Originally, this lamp base supported a Tiffany Studios Geometric shade.  The present arrangement, devised by the Geyers, is a splendid and appropriate use of the base.  The base is large and assertive, and requires a wide, strongly colored shade.  Like a rainbow, the base’s mosaic changes from a deep green at the bottom to deep blue, and the turtleback tiles at the top shift in tone from green to violet, an arrangement that accords with the palette of the Peony shade.  Indeed, this lamp base was designed with the idea that it should harmonize with different models of shades; it was not designed for just one.  Harmony of colors and materials was a key concern for Tiffany in all the works that bore his name, and this lamp evidences that practicality.  Art and commerce could be successfully joined. -Martin Eidelberg, Co-Author of The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Author of Tiffany Favrile Glass and the Quest of Beauty and Tiffany Favrile Pottery and the Quest of Beauty

  • USAUSA
  • 2012-12-15
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* Note that the price doesn’t correlate with today’s value, but only relates to the actual end price at the time of the purchase.

Lighting

Auctions with lighting objects, such as candlesticks, lamps, chandeliers and lanterns, can be found under this category. Classic chandeliers, design lighting and lamps from the mid-twentieth century are some of the objects that arouse great interest at auctions.