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Important Tiffany

3:30 PM, December 17, 2009

Sale 8607

"Dragponfly" table lamp with rare telescopic base and finial;u

Lot 429, "Dragonfly" table lamp, with rare favrile telescopic base and finial, Tiffany Studios

By Carter B. Horsley

Tiffany Studios produced a spectacular line-up of extremely colorful and sculptural lamps in and around the start of the 19th Century that greatly enlivened Victorian interiors and reflected an Art Nouveau sensitivity to organic lines.

What was remarkable about the best lamps was the fabulous quality of the shades' colored glass that rivaled the best of stained glass windows with the sensational, intricate lead traceries that held the glass in the forms of dragonflies or colorful flowers like peonies and dogwood.

The dramatic and dazzling fireworks floated above bronze bases that were often equally distinguished by their exquisite forms and carvings. Lot 429, for example, a "Dragonfly" table lamp not only has an array of spread-wing dragonflies around the base of the shade but also exotic balls of glass supporting the tendrils of the base's "roots that have somehow also managed to send a ball to the top of the lamp. The overall effect is volcanic, recalling and conjuring the magic of glass-making. The dragonfly motif was quite popular and this auction has a few example in different colors and sometimes the elaborate shades "sit" on rotund squat bases covered with more glass dragonflies. Here, though, the spindly legs of the base standing on small glass orbs evokes a mysterious and wondrous organic world. This lamp, which comes from Minna Rosenblatt, a leading Tiffany dealer, has a modest estimate of $125,000 to $175,000. It sold for $194.500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

Although in the post-World War II era, Tiffany's is best known for diamond baubles and silver ball-point pens, its greatest and eventually most valuable creations will be the great lamps whose value has increased only a hundred-fold since World War II. These are "magic lanterns" that take over their interiors making short shrift of assorted Hudson River paintings and the like.

Tiffany, of course, also produced handsome desk sets and lovely tall, floral vases of irridiscent glass that are less agressive in devouring their interiors and therefore more socially palatable to some interior decorators lacking the courage for true flamboyance. Think of them as Turner sunsets, sweeping over everything in their domain with unquestionable and unchallenged virtuosity. Damn the torpedos. Climb the masts. Look and then perish!

"Laburnam" table lamp

Lot 434, "Laburnam" table lamp, Tiffany Studios, with rare bird skeleton base.

Lot 434 is a rare "Laburnam" table lamp from Tiffany Studios with rare bird dkeleton base. The large lamp and base are quite beautiful and extraordinary. It has an estimate of $350,000 to $500,000. It sold for $422,500.

Lot 428, "Salamander" table lamp, Tiffany Studios, 31 3/8 inches high

Lot 428 is a "superb and rare" "Salamander" table lamp by Tiffany Studios that is 31 3/8 inches high. This is a very large table lamp that is distinguished by its abundant and brilliant red and pink glass. It has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It sold for $362,500.

"Dogwood" chandelier

Lot 432, "Dogwood" chandelier, Tiffany studios, 28 3/4 inches in diameter, circa 1905

Lot 432 is a fine "Dogwood" chandelier by Tiffany Studios. It is 28 3/4 inches in diameter and was made circa 1905. It has an estimate of $120,000 to $180,000. It sold for $290.500.

"Peony" chandelier

Lot 436, "Peony" chandelier, Tiffany Studios, 29 inches in diameter

Lot 436 is a simple but very colorful "Peony" chandelier by Tiffany Studios that is 29 inches in diameter. It has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000 and was formerly in the collection of Minna Rosenblatt. It sold for $194,500.

While this grouping of great Tiffany works is small, it is very memorable and really superb!

"Fish-scale chandelier"

Lot 421, "Fish-scale" chandelier with six lights, Tiffany Studios, circa 1905

Lot 421 is a "superb and rare" "fish-scale" chandelier with six lights by Tiffany Studios. It was created circa 1905 and has an estimate of $120,000 to $160,000. It failed for sell. This rather ungainly but large chandelier is notable for its bold chandelier fitting and the bright small shades of the six lights above it.

Dragonfly counterbalance table lamp

Lot 437, Counterbalance table lamp by Tiffany Studios, with three incised dragonflies on lamp, 27 5/8 inches high

Lot 437 is a fine counterbalance table lamp that is distinguished by three small but finely detailed dragonflies incised on the shade. The lamp is 27 5/8 inches high. It has a modest estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. It sold for $18,750.

Lily table lamp

Lot 431, "Eighteen-light Lily table tamp," by Tiffany Studios, 20 1/8 inches high

Lot 431 is a "superb" 18-light "Lily" table lamp by Tiffany Studios. The catalogue notes that the transluscent and red amber trumpets are accentuated by swirling white stems and intense irridisence. It is 20 1/8 inches high. The lot has a conservative estimate of $50,000 to $90,000. It sold for $158,500.

"Still Life with Flowers" by Tiffany

Lot 402, "Still Life with Flowers," by Louis Comfort Tiffany, oil on canvas, 22 1/8 by 19 1/2 inches, 1902

Tiffany was a very good painter as can be seen in Lot 402, "Still Life with Flowers," an oil on canvas that was painted in 1902 and measures 22 1/8 by 19 1/2 inches. It has a modest estimate of $20,000 to $30,000 as his paintings are pretty rare. It sold for $56,200.

Of the 39 offered lots, 32 sold for $3,038,250.

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