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.
SOLD for $ 1.15M including premium