Art & Design
Sale 121 Lot 371
Linen Fold shade and Harp floor lamp
New York, New York
bronze with gold dore patina
base: marked Tiffany Studios, New York, #423-H
overall: 15″w x 16″d x 58″h; shade: 9 1/2″dia x 5 1/2″h
Original patina to base. Glass shade is in good condition.
Born in New York City in 1848, Louis Comfort Tiffany was the oldest son of Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of Tiffany & Co. He was raised in an atmosphere of tremendous wealth and expensive taste during the Gilded Age. Instead of joining his father’s company, Tiffany studied fine arts and worked in many mediums, including furniture, metalwork, textiles, pottery, enamels, jewelry, and book design. In the late 1870s, he became intrigued by the decorative possibilities of glass and used it throughout his career. Tiffany was a notable contributor to the Aesthetic Movement and used biblical and historical sources for inspiration from Asia and the Middle East. Influenced as well by British designer William Morris, Tiffany contributed to the Arts and Crafts Movement. He was critical of painting on glass, which he felt marred the innate prismatic qualities, so he experimented with opalescent finishes and created lava glass as well as his most important innovation, Favrile glass. Tiffany patented this iridescent art glass in 1894 and began manufacture in 1896. Coined by Tiffany, the term Favrile comes from the Latin ‘fabrilis,’ or handmade. From the Tiffany Studios glass factory in Queens, Tiffany sold Favrile windows, lamps, vases, and mosaics. An impeccable taskmaster, Tiffany would walk down production lines with his cane and shatter any piece of work that he deemed unsuitable. As a proponent of Art Nouveau in America, Tiffany presented the variegated colors and forms of the natural world directly. After World War I, cultural trends moved toward the more minimal, Bauhaus style. With his business income dwindling, lavish lifestyle, and extensive philanthropic efforts, Tiffany declared bankruptcy in 1932. On January 17, 1933, he died in New York City in relative obscurity. In the decades that followed, Tiffany would come to be regarded as a master of the decorative arts. His early glasswork is now part of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, Tokyo’s Imperial Museum, and other notable facilities. Tiffany’s stained-glass windows are still found in many of America’s oldest colleges and universities, including Yale, Harvard, and Columbia.