Lot 319
  • 319

TIFFANY STUDIOS | “Cypriote” Paperweight Vase

Estimate
30,000 - 50,000 USD
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

  • Tiffany Studios
  • “Cypriote” Paperweight Vase
  • engraved M2698 Louis C. Tiffany and with the firm’s paper label
  • favrile glass
  • 7 in. (17.8 cm) high
  • circa 1900

Provenance

John and Katsy Mecom Collection, Houston, Texas
Sotheby’s New York, The John and Katsy Mecom Collection, October 3, 1992, lot 387
Louis C. Tiffany Garden Museum, Japan
Michaan’s Auctions, Alameda, California, Treasures of Louis C. Tiffany from the Garden Museum, Japan, November 17, 2012, lot 123
Macklowe Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Literature

John Loring, Louis Comfort Tiffany at Tiffany & Co., New York, 2002, p. 147 (for a related example)
Alastair Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2004, p. 255 (for the present lot illustrated)
Martin Eidelberg, Tiffany Favrile Glass and the Quest of Beauty, New York, 2007, p. 74 (for related examples)
Paul E. Doros, The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2013, pp. 144-145 (for related examples)

Catalogue Note

Paperweight vases produced by the Stourbridge Glass Company and its successor, Tiffany Furnaces, first appeared around 1899.  Many of the initial efforts, while attractive, exhibit visible technical flaws that indicate the difficulty the glassblowers had in creating the decorative effects desired by Louis C. Tiffany.  These difficulties were resolved in a remarkably short period of time and the gaffers soon acquired the confidence to experiment and expand their repertoire.

This present example vibrantly exhibits the experimental nature of some of the more unusual types of paperweight pieces.  In this case, the inner and outer layers of clear glass, both somewhat thicker than normal, encase an abstract design of looped swirls in shades of green, brick-red, brown, white and blue.  The interior has a bright gold iridescence, small sections of which sparkle through the swirls.  Additionally, the outer layer was covered with wide, irregular patches of swirled iridescent gold glass on top of which was sprinkled a small amount of potassium nitrate.  This created a pock-marked “Cypriote” finish, an effect rarely seen on paperweight vases. 

The exterior iridescence on the Cypriote sections is particularly interesting.  Tiffany’s technique of applying iridescence was to use fumes of metallic salts in reduction ovens in which the oxygen levels were significantly diminished.  Blowtorch-like devices were used to eliminate as much oxygen as possible and it is likely this vase was placed too close to the flames, causing violet, blue and gold hot spots.  Many glasshouses would have been upset with this apparent flaw, but for Tiffany it was an accidental enhancement that only increased the vase’s uniqueness and beauty. 

—Paul Doros
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