TIFFANY STUDIOS | "WISTERIA" TABLE LAMP
Property from the Collection of Jeep and Carla Harned
"WISTERIA" TABLE LAMP
with a "Tree" base
leaded glass, patinated bronze
shade with small early tag impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK
underside of shade mounting post impressed 1073
top of the base column impressed 4
base plate impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS/NEW YORK twice and 27770 with paper label inscribed SL.69.75.1A/CHRYSLER
27¼ in. (69.2 cm) high
18¼ in. (46.4 cm) diameter of shade
Overall in very good condition. The shade is executed in a particularly rich and variegated color palette, which imparts a strong impressionistic quality to the lamp. The wisteria panicles are articulated in range of blue, purple and opalescent white tones which alternate around the shade circumference, creating stunning visual depth and movement. Individual petals in cobalt, violet, periwinkle, lavender and opalescent white are accented by notes of warm pink and aqua. The shade is accented with passages of mottled and striated glass which further enhances the impressionistic quality of the shade, evoking the sense of light dappled on the Wisteria blossoms. The shade with approximately 13 hairline cracks dispersed throughout which have been recently stabilized by a professional glass conservator. One blue tile on the bottom border with a hairline crack with an associated loss to the glass surface only visible upon close inspection. The shade with traces of surface soiling throughout concentrated to the contours adjacent to the lead lines consistent with age. The wisteria panicles with some extremely minor expected bending. The bronze armature of the shade is in very good condition with scattered minor surface scratches, abrasions, wear to the patina and some surface soiling and oxidation concentrated to the recessed contours of the design consistent with age and gentle handling. The “Tree” base displays exceptional quality to the casting, and the branching on the lower base cushion is particularly sculptural and well defined. The base with occasional very minor surface scratches, abrasions and minor rubbing to the high points of the design consistent with age and gentle use. The base with some minor traces of surface soiling concentrated to the recessed contours of the design. The base is lacking a cord guide. With period sockets that appear original and undisturbed, and with the original knob switch. An exceptionally painterly and artistic example of this iconic model with a very sophisticated and complex glass selection.
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.
Lillian Nassau, New York
Private Collection, Switzerland
Christie's New York, December 10, 1998, lot 331
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany: Rebel in Glass, New York, 1964, pl. v
Dr. Egon Neustadt, The Lamps of Tiffany, New York, 1970, pp. 215-220
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany At Auction, New York, 1981, pp. 89 and 148
William Feldstein, Jr. and Alastair Duncan, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios, New York, 1983, p. 37
Alastair Duncan, Fin de Siècle Masterpieces from the Silverman Collection, New York, 1989, p. 40
Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany's Glass, Bronzes, Lamps: A Complete Collector's Guide, New York, 1989, p. 131
Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany: The Collected Works of Robert Koch, Atglen, PA, 2001, pp. 74, 242 and 284
Alastair Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2004, pp. 292-293
Martin Eidelberg, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, Nancy A. McClelland and Lars Rachen, The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2005, p. 107
Alastair Duncan, Tiffany Lamps and Metalware, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2007, p. 67, no. 254
Martin Eidelberg, Nina Gray and Margaret K. Hofer, A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, London, 2007, p. 48
Timeless Beauty, The Art of Louis Comfort Tiffany, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Atglen, PA, 2016, p. 119
Margaret K. Hofer and Rebecca Klassen, The Lamps of Tiffany Studios: Nature Illuminated, New York, 2016, pp. 86-87
Tiffany's Painterly Expressions in Glass
The “Wisteria” lamp was one of the most ambitious and successful models produced by Tiffany Studios. Designed in 1901 by Clara Driscoll, within five years of its introduction the price for a Wisteria lamp was listed at $400, making it one of the most expensive lamps in Tiffany’s line. As revered as this luxury item was in the period, the Wisteria lamp is now widely recognized as an icon of American design and one of Tiffany Studios’ greatest accomplishments in leaded glass. Its complex pattern is comprised of nearly 2,000 individually cut and selected glass tiles. As a result, each Wisteria lamp possesses its own distinct character and color palette, despite being a standardized model.
True to nature, the Wisteria is generally executed in a blue and purple palette, but Tiffany’s glass selectors often exercised artistic license when it came to coloration. Such an intricate design afforded Tiffany’s craftsmen with ample opportunity to experiment with color, sometimes defying nature with their inclusion of unexpected colors like pink and aqua, as is the case in the present lot. The effect is incredibly impressionistic: the careful selection and placement of such a variety of hues allows the viewer’s eye to mix colors to create the distinct sense of pictorial depth. The overall effect achieved is that of layers upon layers of wisteria blossoms as they would occur in nature, receding into space and cascading with dynamic, graceful irregularity.
The present lot is a fascinating example due to both its beauty and the presence of an accession number on the base. The label, inscribed SL.69.75.1A/CHRYSLER, suggests the piece was at one time been in the collection of or exhibited at the Chrysler Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts. While records from this period do not exist, it comes as no surprise that a lamp of this caliber might have been included or displayed in such a prestigious context.