Lot 325
  • 325

Tiffany Studios

400,000 - 600,000 USD
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  • Tiffany Studios
  • "Wisteria" Table Lamp
  • shade impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORKmounting post on underside of shade crown impressed 10117top of base column impressed 10117underside of base impressed 5base plate impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/10117 and 5
  • leaded glass, patinated bronze
  • 27 1/4  in. (69.2 cm) high18 3/8  in. (46.7 cm) diameter of shade
with a "Tree" base


Acquired by Teddy and Arthur Edelman, circa 1950


William Feldstein, Jr. and Alastair Duncan, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios, New York, 1983, pp. 36-37
Alastair Duncan, Fin de Siècle Masterpieces from the Silverman Collection, New York, 1989, p. 40
Alastair Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2004, p. 293
Martin Eidelberg, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Nancy A. McClelland and Lars Rachen, The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2005, pp. 106-107 
Martin Eidelberg, Nina Gray and Margaret K. Hofer, A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, London, 2007, p. 48


Overall very good condition. The shade presents with rich and brilliant violet, cobalt, and cerulean blue hues, with soft, opalescent lavender and sky blue mottles. The glass selection is further distinguished by the lower panicle tips encircling the shade articulated in range of jewel-tone hues of aqua, turquoise and varying shades of green. The shade with approximately 35-40 cracks to the glass tiles dispersed throughout, which is a relatively low number in proportion to the vast number of glass tiles (approximately 2,000) required to execute this complex and monumental shade. All of these hairlines appear stable. The shade with some light surface soiling throughout concentrated to the contours adjacent to the leadlines and the recessed contours of the shade armature. With some gentle rubbing to the high points of the shade armature. The “Tree” base displays with a very nice marbled patina with scattered minor surface scratches and abrasions consistent with age and gentle use. The bronze with some scattered minor casting flaws inherent in the making and not visually detractive. Three of the sockets appear original and undisturbed, one socket appears to be a later replacement. With a later replaced bronze base switch (faithful in design to period Tiffany switches) and cord guide. A stunning example of the model displaying a rich and highly naturalistic glass selection capturing the dimensionality and charming lyrical irregularity of dripping Wisteria clusters on the vine.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Tiffany's "Wisteria" table lamp model was the firm's most ambitious shade design. Created by Clara Driscoll in 1901, the incredible success of the model is owed to its embrace of the most desirable aesthetic themes that were in vogue at the turn of the century. Its complex design presented an opportunity to showcase the exceptional artistry and technical skill of Tiffany’s craftsmen, and it is no wonder that by 1906 the Wisteria was the most expensive item offered by the firm, priced at $400.

The wisteria vine was a popular subject in Japanese prints and paintings, which had a strong influence on American decorative arts and on Tiffany in particular.  In fact, the wisteria was so beloved by Louis C. Tiffany that he made them a prominent feature at his Laurelton Hall estate on Long Island, both indoors as leaded glass depictions and outdoors in the property's expansive gardens.  Beyond the reference to Japanese aesthetics in the wisteria blossom itself, Japonism is apparent in the simplification of the floral forms and the graphic quality of the leadwork, which similarly demonstrate Tiffany’s embrace of conventionalized decorative motifs. This slight abstraction of the floral form is balanced by the shade's sensitive and faithful bronze depictions of gnarled vines on the shade crown and the textured tree trunk base, which show Tiffany's adherence to naturalism.

Capturing the layers of delicate, dripping wisteria panicles in leaded glass was no easy task, requiring the innovation, ingenuity, and artistic vision that could only be found at Tiffany Studios. In this model, nearly 2,000 individually cut and selected favrile glass tiles culminate to create an impressionistic effect. The lyrical and painterly glass selection is redolent of Impressionism, imparting the blossoms with a sense of dimension.  In the present shade, rich cobalt and amethyst is incorporated with soft lavender and sky blue, creating the effect of sunlight falling on the petals. Distinguishing this lamp further, the lower panicles are accented in a range of jewel-tone hues.