Lot 5
  • 5

TIFFANY STUDIOS | "Arrowheads" Jardinière

Estimate
40,000 - 60,000 USD
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

  • Tiffany Studios
  • "Arrowheads" Jardinière
  • impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/835
  • mosaic favrile glass, gilt bronze
  • 4 in. (10.2 cm) high12 1/4  in. (31.1 cm) diameter
  • circa 1905
with copper liner

Provenance

Cecile Singer Collection, New York
Sotheby's New York, 20th Century Decorative Arts Including Property from the Estate of Cecile Singer, March 10, 2005, lot 82

Literature

Alastair Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2004, pp. 374-375
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007, pp. 395, no. 1601, 396, no. 1608 and 397, no. 1610
Martin Eidelberg, Nina Gray and Margi Hofer, A New Light on Tiffany, Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, New York, 2007, p. 75
William R. Holland, Tiffany Desk Sets, Atglen, PA,  2008, p. 229

Catalogue Note

“I have always striven to fix beauty in wood or stone or glass or pottery, in oil or watercolour, by using whatever seemed fittest for the expression of beauty; that has been my creed and I see no reason to change it.”  —Louis C. Tiffany, 1916

Ferneries, as they were called at the time, were popular in the early part of the 20th Century and Tiffany Studios made several models to meet the demand. The company frequently featured them in advertising, placed in periodicals such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, as suggested wedding or Christmas gifts. Some of the planters lacked mosaics, such as the superbly cast “Marsh Marigold” example (lot 67). The “Arrowhead” model, with a design also based on an aquatic flower, does include mosaic passages and fully displays the finest characteristics of the firm’s work in this field. Tiffany began utilizing mosaics as early 1881 in the decorating of the Seventh Regiment Armory and the Church of the Divine Paternity, both in New York City. It was not until 1893 with the manufacturing of Favrile glass, however, that his company began producing the mosaics for which they received international recognition.

The “Arrowhead” planters were made in either gilt (lot 5) or patinated (lot 6) bronze and these two from the Geyer Collection present a rare opportunity to compare them side by side. The lower bodies of each are identically cast in bronze, one with a gilt finish and the other with a rich brown patina, realistically representing flowering giant arrowheads (Sagittaria montevidensis). This was a plant the company frequently employed in its designs of objects ranging from lamp shades to tea services. The remainder of the bodies are covered with small rectangular iridescent glass tesserae in shades of yellow and gold on the gilt example and in greens and blues on the patinated model.

It is fascinating to note how the two metal finishes and the color schemes of the tesserae create such different visual effects in what is essentially the same object. The gilt bronze version, resplendent in yellow Favrile glass mosaic with waves of bright gold iridescence, harken to a garden under a shining sun. On the other hand, the patinated planter, comprised of blue and green tesserae with wavy ribbons of silver, blue and violet iridescence, seems to represent a tranquil garden at dusk.

Both fully document Louis Tiffany’s conviction that not only did women, especially those employed by him, have a better sense of color, they were also superior in differentiating and harmonizing tones. Although Tiffany’s fancy goods are not as well-known as his windows and lamps, they exhibit the same extraordinary artisanship. These two Arrowhead fern jardinieres featured in the Geyer Collection are exquisite examples and afford a unique chance for collectors to better understand and appreciate this largely overlooked segment of the firm’s production.

PAUL DOROS
is former curator of glass at the Chrysler Museum (Norfolk, Virginia) and author of The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany (New York: Vendome Press), 2013.
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