TIFFANY STUDIOS | "ELABORATE PEONY" TABLE LAMP
Property from the Collection of Jeep and Carla Harned
"ELABORATE PEONY" TABLE LAMP
with a rare reticulated "Arch and Leaf" base
leaded glass, patinated bronze
shade impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK 1903
base impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK/542
33½ in. (85.1 cm) high
22¼ in. (56.5 cm) diameter of shade
Overall in very good condition. The shade displays a stunning naturalistic color palette. The peony blossoms are executed in a range of rich reds and pinks ranging from deep crimson, coral, magenta, and bright pink, and are set amidst leaves and stems in vibrant apple, Kelly and olive greens with accents of sky blue. The shade with approximately 12 hairline cracks disbursed throughout, stable. The shade with some extremely minor and light traces of surface soiling throughout concentrated to the contours adjacent to the lead lines consistent with age. The rare “Arch and Leaf” base is a superb pairing to the Peony shade, displaying abstract naturalistic sculptural details and a robust yet elegant silhouette. The base is in excellent condition and displays an exceptionally rich brown and green patina. The bronze surfaces with scattered minor surface scratches, abrasions and discolorations consistent with age and gentle use. The base with some minor traces of surface soiling concentrated to the recessed contours of the design. With period sockets. With a later reproduction finial in very good condition with scattered minor surface scratches and abrasions. A masterful example of Tiffany’s illustrious Elaborate Peony model displaying a richly saturated color palette and a highly sculptural base pairing. The lamp presents beautifully in person with lush radiant color and the ideal proportions.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
For the shade:
Christie's New York, November 15, 1980, lot 461
Christie's New York, December 10, 1998, lot 376
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Dr. Egon Neustadt, The Lamps of Tiffany, New York, 1970, p. 147 (for the base)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany At Auction, New York, 1981, p. 105, no. 282 (for the present shade illustrated)
William Feldstein, Jr. and Alastair Duncan, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios, New York, 1983, p. 33 (for the shade and base pairing)
Alastair Duncan, Martin Eidelberg and Neil Harris, Masterworks of Louis Comfort Tiffany, London, 1989, p. 108 (for the shade and base pairing)
Alastair Duncan, Fin de Siècle Masterpieces from the Silverman Collection, New York, 1989, p. 37 (for the shade and base pairing)
Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany's Glass, Bronzes, Lamps: A Complete Collector's Guide, New York, 1989, p. 129 (for the base)
Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany: The Collected Works of Robert Koch, Atglen, PA, 2001, pp. 241 and 282 (for the base)
Martin Eidelberg, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Nancy A. McClelland and Lars Rachen, The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2005, p. 156 (for the shade and base pairing)
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007, p. 106, nos. 426-427 (for the base) and p. 182, no. 719 (for the shade)
Margaret K. Hofer and Rebecca Klassen, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios: Nature Illuminated, New York, 2016, p. 70 (for the base)
"King of Flowers"
Tiffany's "Elaborate Peony" Lamp
The peony blossom, with its extraordinary lushness and variation in color palette, was the ideal subject for Tiffany’s leaded glass shades and was represented in a few variations by the firm. The earlier iterations of the floral motif are attributed to Clara Driscoll and display a cheerful but more simplified pattern compared to the later “Elaborate Peony” model, seen in the present lot. The introduction of this complex and highly artistic shade model in 1910, when many other floral shade patterns were being discontinued, underscores Tiffany’s admiration for this springtime flower. One of the firm’s most naturalistic shade designs, the Elaborate Peony features both buds and full, mature blossoms. Showing both the fully-bloomed and yet-to-bloom flower imbues the composition with an impressionistic quality, as if to capture a single, fleeting moment in nature. Beyond its innate beauty, the peony would have also had great cultural and symbolic appeal for Tiffany. A popular motif in Eastern art, which Tiffany revered and was an important source of inspiration in his work, the peony was thought to signify strength and was considered the “King of Flowers.”
The notion of strength is certainly evoked in the present example of the Elaborate Peony shade and it’s complementary reticulated “Arch and Leaf” base. As a unit, the lamp displays impressive sculptural presence, scale and elegant proportions. The bold and diverse color palette, ranging from deep crimson to vivid magenta and offset by a rich azure background, imparts the shade with exceptional dynamism. The sensitive and highly artistic glass selection, especially in the articulation of the layered peony petals, creates a profound sense of pictorial depth. This dimensionality is carried through to the base, with its organic lines and tactile surface. The reticulated design of the cast bronze combined with its graceful silhouette is incredibly successful: as a result, the base is both robust, occupying a considerable volume, but also retains a delicacy and naturalism in its sculptural details. Its refined artistry and stature make the Arch and Leaf base one of the most favored and highly desirable pairings for the iconic Elaborate Peony shade.