This pitcher model, designed by Edward C. Moore for the Paris Exposition of 1878, is one of Tiffany's most important and seminal designs in the Japanesque style. The nature-based motifs, the integration of the form and the ornament, and the painterly use of colored alloys all combine to make the pitcher a "vocabulary" piece of Moore's distinctive style. As John Loring has written, "Moore's magnificent Japanesque wares [in the Paris Exposition] were the pinnacle of his achievement and remain the greatest works in the history of American silver" (John Loring, Magnificent Tiffany Silver, 2001, p. 30; see also p. 38 for an archival photograph of this pitcher model, circa 1878 ).
A woodcut of this pitcher design was published in the glowing review of Tiffany's exhibit at the Paris Exposition, written by French critic Emile Bergerat (illustrated here). Two designs for the decoration of pitcher #5051 survive in the Tiffany Archives (illustrated in the auction catalogues for Christie's New York, Tiffany: Innovation in American Design, December 10, 1998, p. 90, and Christie's South Kensington, Ken Hill, September 13, 1999, p.38).
Other pitchers of this model are in the collections of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Examples at auction were sold at Christie's South Kensington, September 13, 1999, lot 114, and at Christie's New York, on December 10, 1998, lot 311, June 18, 1998, lot 75, and June 19, 1996, lot 50.
IMAGE CAPTION: Woodcut illustration from Emile Bergerat, "Les chefs-d'oeuvre d'art á l'Exposition Universelle," Paris, 1878