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231

TIFFANY MASTERWORKS FROM AN IMPORTANT AMERICAN COLLECTION

Tiffany Studios
A RARE "AQUAMARINE" EXHIBITION VASE
Estimate
45,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
231

TIFFANY MASTERWORKS FROM AN IMPORTANT AMERICAN COLLECTION

Tiffany Studios
A RARE "AQUAMARINE" EXHIBITION VASE
Estimate
45,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 50,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Tiffany: Dreaming in Glass

|
New York

Tiffany Studios
A RARE "AQUAMARINE" EXHIBITION VASE
engraved 5396M L. C. Tiffany Inc. Exhibition piece
favrile glass
6 3/4  in. (17.1 cm) high
6 1/2  in. (16.5 cm) diameter
circa 1914
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Christie's New York, December 10, 1998, lot 286
David Whitney Collection, Connecticut
Sotheby's New York, An American Visionary: The Collection of David Whitney, November 16, 2006, lot 21
Private Collection, New York
Sotheby's New York, December 15, 2011, lot 223
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Catalogue Note


Aquamarine glass was one of the last innovations introduced by Tiffany Furnaces. Louis Tiffany was fascinated by water: he sailed a small sloop outside Oyster Bay, designed and produced several large fountains, and even had a small stream traverse the interior of his Laurelton Hall mansion. It is therefore not surprising that he desired a type of glassware that reflected his affinity for water.

In July 1913, Tiffany sent Arthur E. Saunders, one of his gaffers, to Bermuda to examine from a glass-bottomed boat the marine life and vegetation in the surrounding tropical waters. The intent was for Saunders to replicate, in glass, what he saw after he returned to Corona.  The final result, after a surprisingly short period of experimentation, was the Aquamarine series, which was met with immediate critical success. Featuring thick, heavy bodies of transparent green-tinted glass encasing a highly naturalistic motif, the pieces were highlighted in magazine articles and Tiffany & Company’s Blue Book from 1914 to 1917, priced as high as $300. This exorbitant price was an indicator of how exceptionally difficult it was for the glasshouse to produce these objects, some of which weighed as much as 25 pounds.

The vase offered here is a prime example of the category. Its bulbous green-tinted transparent body is decorated with a central dome of “floating” yellow flowers, with orange millefiori centers, encircled by a spiraled vine of leaves in various shades of brown. The sense of depth is heightened by the refractive nature of the glass, and the internal horizontal striations aptly mimic a stream’s gentle current. Even the subtle silver iridescence on the interior of the neck serves a purpose, leading the viewer to focus on the floral decoration within the body. Tiffany evidently considered it a superior piece, as the company selected it for a special exhibition, probably either the 1914 Paris Salon or the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. It is vases such as this one that caused a contemporary observer to assert that Aquamarine glass was one of the most decorative and unusual creations in the history of glass-making.

PAUL DOROS

Tiffany: Dreaming in Glass

|
New York