Tiffany & Co. Indian-inspired silver frequently looked to the designs of George Catlin, whose paintings romanticized both the West and the "noble savage." Catlin's motifs were condensed and simplified, such as the Indian bas-reliefs on a three-handled cup with buffalo head supports depicted in Charles Carpenter's Tiffany Silver, 1997, fig. 281, and those found on the present lot.
Yet, the use of inlaid copper and niello geometric patterns on the present lot reflects a more mature style and clearly points to hand of Paulding Farnham. The versatile Farnham, Tiffany's art director and an avid collector of Indian artifacts, introduced this sophisticated style bold geometric patterns that drew inspiration from native American basketwork, pottery and blankets. Farnham's Indian-inspired silverwork was exhibited to great acclaim at international exhibitions, such as a Pueblo bowl inlaid with copper and niello at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and his Zuni, Hupa and Navajo bowls for the Paris Exposition in 1900 (see: John Loring, Paulding Farnham: Tiffany's Lost Genius, pp. 60-67).
Buffalo Chase, George Catlin, 1847, Courtesy of the Collection of Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma