Bonhams to Highlight Tiffany and Early Century Works on June 18

. June 6, 2007

Mid-June sale offers one of the largest collections of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studio Glass at auction in many years.

Bonhams Spring 2007 auction of 20th Century Decorative Arts, to be held in New York on June 18, 2007, features a diverse group of master works spanning a century of design. Strong examples of Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernist Design come to the block.

Bonhams is pleased to bring a large selection of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studio glass objects to auction. Synonymous with quality and craftsmanship, American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany used and promoted the copper foil method of stained glass production. The offering features a full range of Tiffany’s artistic output, from the early years through the Art Nouveau era, comprising glass vases, bronze desk sets and small table lamps, wall clocks, tea screens, sconces, lamp bases, chandeliers and a fine collection of leaded glass lamps including models of Roman, Daffodil, Bellflower, Apple Blossom, Moorish, Acorn and an outstanding 18-inch Peony lamp. During their years of operation, Tiffany Studios produced some of the world’s most highly sought after work in glass.

A fine Tiffany Studios Favrile glass and bronze Wisteria lamp on a tree-trunk base designed by Clara Driscoll with brown-green patina highlights the Tiffany section of the June sale. This will be the first Wisteria lamp offered at auction since the discovery of the Clara Driscoll letters, which gave true design credit of this iconic lamp to Ms. Driscoll and demonstrated the full importance of the design contribution of the “Tiffany Girls.”

As Clara Driscoll’s letters reveal, the Wisteria lamp must have been designed in 1901 and was well into production by early 1902. This is confirmed as well by the significant number of examples of the Wisteria lamp which bear the monogram of the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company and have five-digit production numbers rather than model numbers.

By mid-1903, if not earlier, the firm had begun marking their lamps and bronze products with standardized model numbers — the Wisteria lamp was assigned no. 342. The shade on the example offered on June 18 has a distinctive form of model number: 342-4. These “dash numbers” indicate that this was the fourth example executed after the company started marking their work with model numbers. This bookkeeping system proved cumbersome and was soon abandoned, but the presence of the dash-number here, and a low one at that, suggests that the shade was made quite early, about 1903.

A fine Tiffany Studios Favrile glass and bronze Peony lamp featured in the auction is expected to bring $200,000 to $300,000. The highly colorful lamp with rich blue background glass and vivid pink blossoms, reaches 23-inches in height and 18-inches in diameter. An unusual Tiffany leaded Favrile glass and pebble landscape window (est. $80/120,000) demonstrates some of the more artistic solutions of the Tiffany Studios Window Department. The central panel, with its idyllic wooded landscape, is composed of several layers of glass enclosed by a border of pebbles, within outer borders of stylized foliate devices and pebbles again. This use of pebbles to enhance leaded glass window design or as material for a lampshade has been suggested by Alastair Duncan to be the contribution of Joseph Briggs, the general foreman of Tiffany Studios. The work measures nearly seven-feet high.

Also included in the Tiffany section is a highly sought-after bronze 15-piece Zodiac desk set (est. $10/15,000), a good pair of Favrile glass Moorish sconces with rare green prisms (est. $15/20,000), a Favrile glass and bronze Moorish prism lamp (est. $35/45,000), a Poppy filigree lamp (est. $45/55,00) and an excellent 18-inch Favrile glass and patinated-bronze Peony lamp (est. $150/200,000).

Early in the sale, a signed revolving carved-oak desk by Charles Rohlfs, Buffalo, NY’s genius cabinetmaker, will be featured. Together with a needlepoint upholstered footstool the set is estimated to bring $50,000 to $70,000. An interesting selection of Vienna Secessionist objects, including pieces by Joseph Hoffmann, will also be offered. Other highlights in the Arts & Crafts section include a selection of ceramic, enamel and metal works by Charles Robert Ashbee for The Guild Handicraft, Newcomb College, Omar Ramsden and Alywin Carr. Included is a fine Teco glazed earthenware punch bowl designed by Fritz Albert, circa 1906, displaying molded grapes and vines (est. $8/12,000).

An unusual Belgian Art Nouveau armoire with leaded glass doors in the manner of Victor Horta will also be included, and a good selection of cameo glass by Daum Nancy, Schneider, Gallé and Desire Christian for Bergun and Schverer should interest collectors.

A strong selection of Art Deco will be offered. Highlighting the section is a set of ten carved walnut chairs by Andre Groult, (est.$20/30,000), a fine Lalique Night & Day clock in vivid blue glass (est.$90/120,000) and a rare Edouard Sandoz bronze jardinière cast with three dog heads (est.$20/30,000).

A carved mahogany armchair with original upholstery from the French Luxury Steamship Normandie will be offered, as well as a rare pair of painted wood pedestals by seminal interior designer and tastemaker Elsie de Wolfe.

The Modern Design section features: a good collection of Mexican jewelry by William Spratling, Hector Aguilar and Alfredo Pineda; a medley of John Dickinson works from the collection of the influential San Franciscan art collector Mary Heath Keesling — including a pair of 1970’s white painted plaster nesting tables (est. $20/30,000) and an iconic galvanized tin and brass console table (est. $25/35,000). Other lots by notable designers include a fine “Constellation” desk by Karl Springer (est. $7/10,000) and a bronze “Z” lamp by French designer Jacques Quintet (est.$15/20,000). A rare oak dining table from the Casa del Sole, designed by famed Italian visionary architect Carlo Molino (est. $60/90,000) will be offered and two unusual tables by Philip and Kelvin Laverne include a waterfall coffee table cast with Chinese tableaux and a unique 1965 abstract model, entitled Les Femmes (est. $10/15,000). A fine mahogany cabinet with foliate-decoupage by Swedish designer Josef Frank will round out the section.

New York preview events are scheduled for June 15-17 in the Fuller Building on Madison Avenue. The auction’s illustrated catalogue is online for review and purchase at www.bonhams.com/us.

Category: Auction News

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