1900 The Patriotic Rose of Emile Gallé
2014 SOLD for $ 425K including premium
His renowned glassmaking is the result of a continuous technical improvement. He decorated the glass surfaces with large applications that provided a three-dimensional realism to flowers and fruits without weakening the piece. In 1898 he gets a patent for the inlaid glass (marquèterie de verre) made by injecting small inclusions in the melting paste. His most outstanding pieces were carved when the work of glass or crystal was achieved.
Before the industrial era reached his workshop, each piece was unique but he nevertheless had preferred themes for literary, poetic, social or patriotic purposes. Around 1900, the rose of France illustrates some of his most complex glasswares. This Rosa gallica has a reputation for being in France for centuries, but in a territory limited to a region near Metz which was part of the Alsace-Lorraine then annexed by the Germans.
On December 16 in New York, Phillips sells a gorgeous Rose de France vase, lot 116 estimated $ 400K. 44 cm high, it is in a double baluster shape with two uneven bulges, the most important being at shoulder level.
1900-1902 Spider Webs with the Girls
2017 SOLD for $ 1.15M including premium
Tiffany takes a social risk and does not brag about it. The competition is tough and hostile between the men's workshop and the Tiffany Girls. The girls do not have the right to join unions and must leave the company when they get married.
The name of their workshop manager, Clara Driscoll, surfaced in 2006 after the discovery and study of her family correspondence. Tiffany had rehired this young widow after the temporary disappearance of a second suitor. Tiffany was lucky : Clara had great artistic skills.
Clara adapted the workshop to create naturalistic lampshades composed of a multitude of colored plates. Her name appears only once in period, in an article of the New York Daily News in 1904 : she is credited with the creation of the Dragonfly lamp which earned a bronze medal to the Tiffany Glass Company at the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1900.
Girls vary the design. Some early lamps also have a bulging glass body decorated in a mosaic pattern and framed by metal studs. The 61 cm high Cobweb and Apple Blossom table lamp belongs to that category. The spider webs set beautiful radiating areas around which the colors of the flowers are positioned elegantly.
This model is extremely rare, perhaps made obsolete after the development by the Tiffany Girls at the end of 1901 of the Wisteria lamp in which the extraordinary complexity of glass assembly is only applied to the lampshade.
On December 13 in New York, Sotheby's sells a Cobweb and Apple Blossom table lamp made circa 1900 by Tiffany Studios, lot 222 estimated $ 700K. The ante quem ending date attested by the monogram Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company stamped on its base is 1902.
The Cobweb lamp is made on a similar design. A 77 cm high electrified specimen was one of the two flagships from the Louis C. Tiffany Garden Museum collection in Matsue, Japan, discussed in this column before it was dispersed at auction by Michaan's in November 2012. The lampshade is entirely composed with webs and the body is decorated with wildflowers.
#AuctionUpdate Featuring a rare mosaic glass “Wheat” base, this important '"Cobweb and Apple Blossom" Table Lamp' brings $1.2 million. One of three known lamps executed in this intricate motif, the work highlights two of Tiffany’s most ubiquitous inspirations: insects & nature. pic.twitter.com/bTz6bz1Z7N— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) December 13, 2017
One down, two to go! #SothebysDesign's auctions continue in #NYC with 'Tiffany: Dreaming in Glass'. Join us now in our saleroom, and stay tuned for 'Masterworks by Tiffany Studios: The William A. Richardson Collection' immediately after: https://t.co/tobsWTHx4K pic.twitter.com/YmtpvKGO6r— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) December 13, 2017
1901 The Lamps of Tiffany Studios
2008 SOLD 930 K$ including premium
On June 14 in New York, eight of them will go under the hammer at Sotheby's. These eight are important pieces.
The Magnolia lamp at number 115 is monumental: 2 metres tall, with a shade diameter of 70 cm. Made around 1915, it is today at 700 K$. The other lamps that I speak below are table lamps.
With its fringe edged hat constituted with 2000 assembled glass pieces and its tree shaped foot with prominent roots, the Wisteria lamp, designed in 1901, was the luxury model of its time. Lot 70 is estimated 500 K$. This lamp is 68 cm high and 47 cm shade diameter, which gives a good idea of its covering shape typical of best Tiffanys.
On a less complex assembly but of similar shape and same size, here is an Apple Blossom lamp, lot 21, estimated 250 K$.
A smaller Wisteria, lot 114, expects 180 K$.
The four others have such a mushroom shape that looks more familiar with European habits. At lot 96, a very colourful Dragonfly lamp is estimated 200 K$. Another Dragonfly, slightly larger but perhaps less aesthetic, at number 38, may stay at 120 K$. The Peony with conical hat of Lot 97 is at 220 K$. Under its hemispheric hat the Begonia lamp at lot 37 is estimated 200 K$.
POST SALE COMMENT
It is the passion of buyers, and not the forecasts of experts, that made the prices of these lamps. It is a clear sign of momentum for this market sector. I could spend hours searching a history of sales of Tiffany lamps, I would not have anticipated the results below. Fortunately for me that I did not do it!
Of the two lamps that I had identified as similar, the less complex, the Apple Blossom at number 21, foiled all expectations by selling 930 K$ costs included on an estimate of 250 K$.
The other, the Wisteria number 70, whose implementation had been an achievement, was sold 600 K$, a price to be considered as reasonable.
The lamps 114, 96 and 38 have all exceeded their estimates, respectively at 220, 270 and 230 K$ fees included.
Probably more cumbersome than exceptional, the lamp 115 remained unsold. It is interesting to note that the last two of my article, where I considered that the shapes were classic, did not find anybody to collect them at 220 and 200 K $.
1903 The Water Garden of L. C. Tiffany
2018 SOLD for $ 3.4M including premium
Trained as an artist, Tiffany is a great lover of gardens. The first release in his new line of products is the wisteria lamp, with an irregularly fringed lower edge that underlines the shape of the plants.
The Pond Lily lamp designed in 1902 is in line with another preference of Tiffany who maintained water gardens in his country estates. Its bell shaped shade is a technical feat because the upper part showing radiating stems on a blue background is an assembly made entirely of glass pieces not reinforced with bronze. Although it appears in the price list until 1906, it seems that its production has been stopped early.
14 lamps of this model have survived. One of them, with a 46 cm diameter lampshade and a 67 cm overall height, is particularly appealing in its colorful composition. It is estimated $ 1.8M for sale by Christie's in New York on December 13, lot 9. Please watch the very short video shared by the auction house.
This unit is dated 1903 with a near certainty by the rare conjunction of the new Tiffany Studios New York trademark with their old system of nomenclature of the elements.
1903 Shades and Vines
2018 SOLD for $ 2.3M including premium
In 1901 he entrusts the realization of lampshades in favrile glass to his Women's Glass Cutting Department. The shade will then be mounted on a bronze base. The whole will display exquisite floral patterns.
The wisteria lamp demonstrates the feasibility of the project. On a flared bell shaped wooden mould, the Tiffany Girls assemble about 2,000 tiles in all colors, with a fringed lower edge that underlines the descending bunches of flowers. Bronze vine shoots provide the rigidity to this fragile form.
The mould of the wisteria lamp is then used with other color combinations composed of bigger tiles. The diversified offering now includes Trumpet Creeper, Grape and Apple Blossom shades. Three of these four variants illustrate vines, obviously matching a botanical preference of the boss.
For each model, the units are distinguished from each other by the small details of their color schemes. The passion of the amateurs generates now the diversity of the auction prices.
Made around 1905, a wisteria lamp with gradual luminous colors was sold for $ 1.57M including premium by Sotheby's in New York on December 18, 2013 over a lower estimate of $ 600K. It comes to the same auction room with the same estimate on December 12, lot 326.
The same sale also offers a rare Trumpet Creeper lamp made around 1903. It is estimated $ 800K, lot 327.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM :
Wisteria lamp SOLD for $ 950K
Trumpet creeper lamp SOLD for $ 2.3M
1901-1905 Two Adjacent Wisterias
2014 SOLD for $ 1.2M including premium
The team of the Tiffany Girls is responsible for preparing and cutting the glass plates. It is operated by Clara Driscoll, whose designing skill was decisive for the development of the most complex and most beautiful shades of Tiffany Studios.
For the fall of 1901, the Wisteria table lamp is ready for commercial release. Its most innovative feature is the elegantly irregular edge of its shade which was inspired by the wisteria. The individual assembly of about 2000 colored elements is a feat of craftsmanship.
The larger Wisteria, 18 inches in diameter, was the most prestigious model offered by Tiffany Studios, although they also produced larger shades for the Cherry Tree and Dragonfly lamps.
A Wisteria lamp dated ca 1905 with a 17 3/4 " shade was sold for $ 1.56M including premium by Sotheby's on December 18, 2013.
Collecting can provide an intense joy. Sandra van den Broek, who specialized in Tiffany lamps, bought several years apart in different circumstances two Wisteria 18" lamps that had an adjacent serial number, and the characteristics of the colored elements showed that they had been cut on the same glass plates.
On December 17 in New York, Sotheby's sells seven lamps which had belonged to van den Broek. Both Wisterias are sold separately, which is not a nonsense since they were not intended to be used as pairs. Each Wisteria is estimated $ 700K, lots 215 and 216. This model was available from 1901 to 1906. The Tiffany number does not enable to identify a more specific date.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM :
Lot 216 : 1.2M.
Lot 215 : 1.15M.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's for introducing the sale:
1905-1906 Lovely Wisterias by Tiffany Studios
2010 SOLD 840 K$ including premium
Offered for the very expensive price of $ 400 in the catalogue of Tiffany Studios in 1906, the Wisteria lamp was one of the high end items of that brand. It is now the star of the specialized Tiffany auction sales and is regularly discussed in this column.
One of them was sold for $ 840K including premium by Christie's on December 15, 2010 over a lower estimate of $ 400K. This unit is now estimated $ 600K for sale by Sotheby's in New York on December 14, lot 447.
The discussion below is based on my 2010 post to which I added more recent results. The prices below include the premium.
The Wisteria is one of the most famous and sought after lamps by Tiffany Studios. It is a table lamp 70 cm high composed of a shade 49 cm in diameter made of a multitude of small pieces of brightly colored glass and of a bronze foot.
Designed in 1901, this model is inspired by botany. The foot looks like a gnarled trunk extended with protruding roots, and the bell shaped shade falls in hemmed clusters like a wisteria. Auction catalogs generally date these productions circa 1905.
At Sotheby's on 14 December 2007, a wisteria lamp was sold for $ 880K. Also at Sotheby's, another wisteria reached $ 600K on June 14, 2008 while a copy with the same shade design but other colors fetched $ 930K under the name of Apple Blossom.
In the Christie's sale on December 15, 2010 already referred here above, another wisteria lamp was sold for $ 480K over a lower estimate of $ 350K. I commented after the sale that both units certainly had some difference in quality since there was a difference of $ 50K in their estimates but exceptional lots widen the gap.
Another Wisteria lamp was sold for $ 1.56M including premium by Sotheby's on December 18, 2013. Two Wisteria with adjacent serial numbers were sold separately by Sotheby's for $ 1.2M and 1.15M respectively on December 17, 2014.
ca 1905 Wisteria Lamp by Tiffany
SOLD for $ 1.57M including premium by Sotheby's on December 18, 2013 and for $ 950K including premium on December 12, 2018
SOLD for $ 1.15M including premium by Sotheby's on December 17, 2014
SOLD for $ 880K including premium by Sotheby's on December 14, 2007
SOLD for $ 600K including premium by Sotheby's on June 14, 2008, lot 70
SOLD for $ 480K including premium by Christie's on December 15, 2010
1905 Lalique in the Art of Odors
2012 SOLD for JPY 28.7M including premium
Influenced by the art of Gallé, René Lalique early became a specialist of glass, experimenting with new techniques in search of new markets.
Glass is a perfect material to highlight the art of odors. Around 1900, Lalique realizes some flacons à senteur (scent bottles), which are not yet fully flacons à parfums (perfume bottles) because they are not produced for a brand. He will develop this new activity in the service of the industry after meeting Coty in 1908.
The Flacon Poisson (fish bottle) has an elongate ovoid tank with a plug displaying algae. It is mold blown à la cire perdue (lost wax) by a bold transposition of a technique well known for bronzes. The algae cover of the specimen kept in the Musée d'Orsay is in gold.
The Flacon Sirène (mermaid bottle) is a variant created circa 1905. On October 6 in Tokyo, Est-Ouest Auctions sells a specimen, estimated JPY 28M, 10 cm high with a diameter of 5 cm. The body is in light green glass tinted in the bulk. The cover is in gilt bronze.
POST SALE COMMENT
This exceptional specimen was sold for JPY 25 million before fees, 28.7 million including premium, just below its estimate.
1907 White Glass and Plique-à-Jour
2012 SOLD 430 K€ including premium
Lalique was one of the founders of the Art Nouveau of Paris, being one of the first artists to exhibit his jewelry in the shop of Samuel Bing. He met Emile Gallé rather late, in 1897, but his approach had much in common with the Nancy school.
An object can be beautiful without necessarily resorting to top gems. Art becomes compatible with mass production if the craftsman masters the materials. The themes reach an infinite variety by promoting aesthetics and rejecting the anecdotal.
A large brooch, 16.5 x 10 cm overall, most likely made in 1907 and stamped by Lalique, is estimated € 200K, for sale by Artcurial in Monte-Carlo on July 25.
It shows two exquisite butterflies with spreading wings, flying in contradictory directions. This is a very good example of the mastery of Lalique for a combined use of materials.
The bodies are made of white glass, which will become the preferred Lalique material for his inter-war production. The jewel is in enameled gold with a transparent effect by plique-à-jour, this difficult enamel technique that can be compared to a cloisonné without support or a miniature stained glass. The wings are underlined by rows of small diamonds.
POST SALE COMMENTS
The result is € 430K including premium.
A jeweled barrette was sold for € 445K including premium, six lots before the butterflies.
1910 Dragonflies and Golden Flames
2014 SOLD for $ 965K including premium
Produced around 1910, this large model 83 cm high offers some major changes compared to the lamps from the beginning of the 1900s decade. The pattern moves more and more away from realism without yet becoming really abstract.
Everything is designed so that the light creates spectacular effects. The glass elements of the lampshade are made in saturated colors dominated at the top of the piece by golden flames. The shape of the base as a tree trunk has been abandoned in favor of a bulky and bulbous structure adorned with cabochons in order to accompany the light.
The diameter of the shade, 22 5/8 inches (57 cm) is one of the largest that have been proposed by Tiffany for table lamps. The lower edge of the shade is less irregular than for Wisterias. Its gentle undulations underline the bodies and wings of the dragonflies.