S otheby’s annual dedicated auction Tiffany: Dreaming in Glass features a broad survey of works by the celebrated American firm, including leaded glass lighting, fancy goods, and blown favrile glass. Leading the sale are a selection of naturalistic lamps including a superlative example of the iconic “Wisteria” table lamp model, a rare “Butterfly” table lamp, and a sublime “Woodbine” chandelier, each of which are a testimony to Tiffany’s unparalleled artistry and glassmaking skills. Further highlighting the sale are early works by Tiffany, including a balustrade section from the historic Havemeyer House and an extremely rare twisted wire and blown favrile glass table base paired with a “Tyler” shade. The auction’s blown glass offerings feature an early, award-winning “Morning Glory” vase from the collection of Leslie Nash which was exhibited in the 1910 Paris Salon, as well as an outstanding example of the later iteration of the model which showcases the firm’s mastery of glassblowing.
With their infinite variety of form and color, flowers were Tiffany’s most treasured muse. Interpreted in glass, flowers that grew in Louis C. Tiffany’s own garden became coveted icons of American design. The firm’s sublime masterworks of lighting, including superlative examples of the “Wisteria,” “Peony” and “Woodbine” models, among many others offered here, invite viewers to revel in the dream-like quality of Tiffany’s illuminated favrile glass and to appreciate the splendor of the natural world.
Though colorful, exuberant flora is most often associated with Tiffany’s body of work, the firm’s artists found inspiration all throughout lush landscapes, including the creatures that occupy them and the unseen structures which underpin them. Fauna was a popular subject interpreted by the firm, such as in the iconic “Dragonfly” and exceedingly rare “Butterfly” lamp models. Tiffany also highlighted beauty in nature that might be overlooked, such as the complex network of roots beneath the soil, depicted in the firm’s rare “Ball” base, and the serene form and architecture of a single shoot of bamboo, like that which comprises the firm’s “Bamboo” base.
Tiffany’s constant aspiration towards beauty in all of its diverse products was fueled by the firm’s unparalleled ambition and innovation. Whether glass-blowing or bronze casting, Tiffany’s continuous experimentation and commitment to perfecting even the most laborious techniques yielded many of the most remarkable decorative and design objects of the 20th Century.
The innovation and artistry that characterizes Tiffany’s iconic leaded glass lighting was applied by the firm in every product category, including desktop objects. These “fancy goods” are just that: delightfully fanciful and luxurious, whether covered in rich mosaic favrile decoration or executed in a charismatic animal form.