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211

Tiffany Studios

"Lava" Vase

Property formerly in the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.

Tiffany Studios

Tiffany Studios

"Lava" Vase

"Lava" Vase

Authenticity guarantee

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Property formerly in the Collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.

Tiffany Studios

"Lava" Vase


circa 1907

Favrile glass

engraved 2323C L.C. Tiffany-Favrile

6¼ inches (15.9 cm) high

6½ inches (16.5 cm) diameter

Overall in very good condition. This extraordinary work was previously in the collection of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., and displays outstanding scale and robust form. When viewed firsthand, the vase displays a rich indigo ground decorated with masterfully applied spiraling gold ribbons with luminous iridescence. The exterior surfaces are wonderfully irregular and tactile and present with scattered air bubbles, particulate inclusions and surface irregularities which are inherent in the making and intentional to the Lava technique to promote the naturalism of the design. The glass surfaces with scattered and very faint surface scratches consistent with age and gentle handling. The interior of the vase displays a rich turquoise iridescence. The underside of the vase is applied with the Chrysler accession number and a Doros Collection accession number. The pontil with some minor edge losses which is common, inherent to production and only visible when the vase is turned over. An exceptional work with impressive scale and decoration, making it a superlative example from the firm’s iconic “Lava” series.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Minna Rosenblatt, New York
Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., Norfolk, Virginia, 1987
Sotheby’s New York, The Estate of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.: Important Art Nouveau and Art Deco, June 16, 1989, lot 396
Hugh McKean, The “Lost” Treasures of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 1980, p. 171, fig. 171 (for a related example)
Stuart Greenspan, “Driven to Collect,” House & Garden, vol. 161, June 1989, p. 32 (for the present lot illustrated)
Vivienne Couldrey, The Art of Louis Comfort Tiffany, Edison, NJ, 2001, p. 103 (for a related example)
Paul Doros, The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2013, p. 121 (for the present lot illustrated)

A Legendary Anomaly –

The "Lava" Technique


The blown glass objects produced by Tiffany Studios were internationally acclaimed for their forms based on nature and the use of vividly colored glass that ran the full gamut of the spectrum. The firm’s so-called “Lava” vases were a rare and exciting anomaly. Apparently produced only in 1906-1907 and again around 1916, it was originally theorized that the motif was inspired by Louis C. Tiffany’s observation of Mt. Aetna erupting during one of his many European trips. That story, however, has been proven to be apocryphal. A far more likely design source can be found in Tiffany’s love of Japanese art, which had a significant influence on much of his aesthetics. He was a serious collector of Asian decorative arts, including ceramics, and “Lava” vases are Tiffany’s fairly obvious attempt to emulate, in glass, 17th Century Japanese raku-fired ceramic tea bowls. 


Lots 211 and 212, both from the initial production period, are among the finest examples ever produced by the company. They superbly demonstrate all the elements that make “Lava” vases so desirable: asymmetrical bodies with uneven, slightly undulating rims and multi-hued exterior iridescences; navy-cobalt overlays, with a texture like weathered leather, interspersed with irregular patches exposing the transparent yellow ground; and iridescent gold threadings and applications of varying dimensions and thicknesses dripped around the body. The bright gold iridescence on the interiors serves as a distinct counterpoint to the dark blue exterior. 


The extreme rarity of “Lava” vases is due to the incredible technical difficulties involved in making a multi-layered object of different glasses with the additional complication of thick, applied sections. It is also highly likely that they were too artistically adventurous for most early 20th Century collectors. One hundred and fifteen years later, “Lava” vases are considered by many to best epitomize the creative supremacy of Tiffany’s blown Favrile glass.


- PD