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'Wisteria' Table Lamp, circa 1910

'Wisteria' Table Lamp, circa 1910
with a 'Tree' base
leaded glass, patinated bronze
27 in. (68.6 cm) high, 18 1/2 in. (47 cm) diameter of shade
shade impressed 27770 and 3
base impressed TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK 27770 and 3
Henry Africa (Norman Jay Hobday), San Francisco, California
A San Francisco Iconoclast: Henry Africa's Collection of Magnificent Tiffany Lamps, Christie's, New York, 14 June 2012, lot 5
Private American Collection
Acquired from the above by the present owner
R. Koch, Louis C. Tiffany: Rebel in Glass, New York, 1964, pl. v., p. 187
Dr. E. Neustadt, The Lamps of Tiffany, New York, 1970, p. 215-220
R. Koch, Louis C. Tiffany’s Glass, Bronzes, Lamps: A Complete Collector’s Guide, New York, 1971, pp. 125 (for a period illustration), 131, 132 (base)
J. Purtell, The Tiffany Touch, New York, 1971, p. 131
P. Doros, Tiffany Collection of the Chrysler Museum, Richmond, 1978, pp. 126-127, no. 194
H. F. McKean, The Lost Treasures of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 1980, p. 191
A. Duncan, Tiffany Windows, New York, 1980, p. 69 (for a period photograph of the workshop with this model illustrated)
A. Duncan, Tiffany at Auction, New York, 1981, p. 89, no. 238
A. Duncan and W. Feldstein, Jr., The Lamps of Tiffany Studios, New York, 1983, pp. 36-37
T. Paul, The Art of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 1987, p. 94
A. Duncan, Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 1992, p. 106
M. May, Great Art Glass Lamps: Tiffany, Duffner & Kimberley, Pairpoint, and Handel, Atglen, 2003, p. 40
A. Duncan, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, Suffolk, 2004, pp. 292-293
C. and P. Fiell, 1000 Lights: 1879-1959, Cologne, 2005, pp. 90-91
M. Johnson, Louis Comfort Tiffany Artist for the Ages, London, 2005, p. 186, no. 92
M. Eidelberg, A. Cooney Frelinghuysen, N. A. McClelland and L. Rachen, The Lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany, New York, 2005, pp. 106-107

Brought to you by

Daphné Riou
Daphné Riou SVP, Senior Specialist, Head of Americas

Lot Essay

The wisteria vine, native to Asia, was brought to the United States in the early nineteenth century. Despite its Asian origins, this magnificent vine was named for the American anatomist Caspar Wister. Once the plant was brought to Europe and the Americas it became highly sought after. The French impressionist Claude Monet grew the vine in his gardens in Giverny. Louis Comfort Tiffany also had a canopy of wisteria outside his home and more wisteria vines hanging from a pergola in his gardens at his Oyster Bay, Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall.
The Wisteria shade, like the plant, was also highly sought after. It was and is one of the most popular and adored lamp designs produced by Tiffany Studios. This shade with its blue and white blossoms demonstrates the many types of glass that Tiffany Studios excelled at making. There are pieces of milky-white glass with striking striations of light blue, and pieces of mottled glass that have speckles and splotches of a darker shade or different color altogether. The range of blue glass present in this shade resembles light sapphires and cobalt jewels while the white glass glistens like a pearl. The thin lead linework leaves little distinction between the vines, the glass instead a symphony of colors all within the dense irregular border leaving the viewer in a sense of wonderment.
Thanks to the research of Tiffany scholars that was made public in 2006, Clara Driscoll, head of the Women’s Glass Cutting Department established by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1892, can be credited the designer of several elaborate irregular border shades, including this model. This design had previously been believed to be that of a Mrs. Curtis Freshel, a fan of wisteria vines and a client of Tiffany’s. It was believed that she had come up with the design and then asked Tiffany to execute it for her.
This shade consists of 2,000 pieces of glass, selected with precision and intricately placed which apparates as luscious cascading blossom heads in conical rows. The shape of the shade is like the ‘Trumpet Creeper’, which Driscoll is also credited with designing. If a design was found to be popular, duplicate templates were made to quicken the pace of production. The Wisteria shade became so popular that the templates wore out and had to be remade. The popularity of the Wisteria shade remains much the same today.

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