Lot 305
  • 305

TIFFANY STUDIOS | An Important "Snowball" Floor Lamp

500,000 - 700,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Tiffany Studios
  • An Important "Snowball" Floor Lamp
  • shade inscribed twice with Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., accession number GAT 82.53base impressed Tiffany Studios/NEW YORK/375
  • leaded glass, patinated bronze
  • 78 in. (198.1 cm) high24 3/4  in. (62.9 cm) diameter of shade
  • circa 1905-1910
with a "Scroll" Senior floor base and "Pig Tail" finial


Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. , Norfolk, Virginia
Sotheby's New York, The Estate of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.: Important Art Nouveau and Art Deco, June 16, 1989, lot 395
Macklowe Gallery, New York


Dr. Egon Neustadt, The Lamps of Tiffany, New York, 1970, p. 184 (for the shade)
William Feldstein, Jr. and Alastair Duncan, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios, New York, 1983, pp. 72-73 (for the shade)
Martin Eidelberg, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Nancy A. McClelland and Lars Rachen, The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2005, p. 69 (for a watercolor study of the shade design)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007, p. 209 (for the shade)
David A. Hanks, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Treasures from the Driehaus Collection, New York, 2013, p. 75 (for the shade)
Margaret K. Hofer and Rebecca Klassen, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios: Nature Illuminated, New York, 2016, p. 83 (for the shade)

Catalogue Note

Nature's unlimited palette presented Tiffany's glassmakers and glass selectors with an abundance of opportunities to experiment with color and the transmission of light through glass as they crafted each floral shade.  Springtime flowers, such as peonies, tulips, daffodils, and wisteria, each blooming in a riot of vibrant color, were Tiffany's preferred subject surely because they called for the most richly saturated glass selections.  However, Tiffany's depiction of the snowball viburnum—a predominantly white flower—in the present example of the shade model is perhaps one of his most artistic and complex experiments in colored glass.

Though the model is often referred to interchangeably as "Hydrangea" and "Snowball," Tiffany was clear in the identification of this shade as a “Snowball,” the popular name for viburnum, in both the Price List and a watercolor study for the shade in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (accession no. 67.654.468).  Compared to the hydrangea, which blooms in a variety of white, pink, purple, and blue tones, the viburnum's white flower might seem like a simpler subject.  However, even when depicting the color white, Tiffany demonstrates his mastery of color.  In this particular example, the snowballs are executed in shades of soft green, blue and periwinkle.  So many shades of white occurring in nature—dappled by the sun, reflecting the sky and surrounding leaves and garden—are depicted in an impressionistic style recalling the effect of a painting done en plein air.  The vigorously mottled glass selected for the snowball blossoms even captures the texture of the clustered viburnum petals, which are offset against a background of cerulean blue and variegated green tones.

The exquisite, carefully studied palette of the present shade distinguishes it as a masterwork by the firm, and the lamp is further enriched by its illustrious provenance coming from the collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.  Chrysler was the heir to his family's automobile fortune and he devoted himself to the preservation and promotion of art.  His collection was vast and diverse—a lifelong endeavor to acquire pieces that were innovative, novel, and that spoke to the spirit of the age in which they were created.  Works by Tiffany Studios were among the countless treasures in Chrysler's collection, many of which reside today in the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, constituting one of the premiere public assemblages of Tiffany Studios in the United States.