Published: June 27, 2017
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy of James D. Julia, Inc.
FAIRFIELD, MAINE – A rare Tiffany Studios floor lamp with all over dogwood design and an unusual irregular floral lower border led the day as James D. Julia presented its rare lamps, glass and jewelry auction on June 16. It reached $406,600, dwarfing its $100/150,000 estimate.
It was standing room only in the auction hall for the auction, another record breaker. The sale was an incredible success, with a total of $4.3 million in gross sales, setting a new division record for the second auction in a row. Tiffany Studios ruled the day, with many of the firm’s clients saying it was the best Tiffany auction in the last 25 years.
An exhausted but pleased Mike Fredericks, head of the division, said that calls over the weekend following the sale and inquiring about unsold lots had pushed the total higher than the original $4.1 million that was reported. “The last record we set was $3.4 million in November 2016 and this sale absolutely blew that away,” he said.
A spectacular Tiffany Studios Wisteria leaded glass window also shattered its estimate and sold for $257,850. The exceptional window featured multicolored purple and blue glass forming the overall wisteria patterns. The window’s great depth of color came from each blue wisteria panel being plated on the back side with various panels of confetti and striated glass forming the individual petals of the wisteria flower. The 31-by-47¾-inch window housed in a wooden frame was primarily about the profuse wisteria, which dramatically frames a scenic design of a tree and pond.
An unreserved Texas estate contributed 40 lots of gemstone and diamond jewelry to this sale as well. Indeed, the top selling jewelry lot of the day was a Cartier emerald and diamond ring from this consignment. Centered by a 1.98-carat emerald-cut diamond, two natural Columbian emeralds flanked the center stone, prong-set in 18K yellow gold and platinum. The striking ring was bid to $20,570, just above its low estimate.
The day’s top fliers, however, were primarily Tiffany, giving credence to the notion that this was a créme-de-la-créme showcase of the best Tiffany Studios material to come along in a while. The same estate that consigned the jewelry also was the source of desirable unreserved Tiffany lamps, including iconic Lotus, Peony and Dragonfly designs – and the top lot, the 32-inch Dogwood floor lamp.
Fetching $228,100, well over its $150,000 high estimate, was an extraordinary Tiffany Studios Dragonfly chandelier, its dichroic leaded design ringing the shade with dragonflies, each with blue body, red eyes and blue and red striated wings. All this against a rich amber, blue and green background of heavily ripple textured glass and it is easy to see that it would be an eye-magnet when lit. The chandelier was complete with bronze chain and ceiling cap, along with a six-socket cluster. It was signed on the inside rim “Tiffany Studios New York.”
Also from the Texas estate came a svelte Tiffany Studios Lotus table lamp with the shade featuring mottled and striated green and cream panels resting on bronze base with decorated round platform foot leading to the long, slender stem with three arms rising to support the shade ring. This example left the gallery at $84,700.
Another chandelier, this one a 29-inch-diameter Clematis design with white flowers and green leaves, took $75,625. It was missing the ceiling cap, but was otherwise complete with six-socket cluster and hardware exhibiting a rich brown patina.
Bringing $72,600 was a similarly green-hued Tiffany Studios Turtleback table lamp, its reticulated pineapple base arising from cast bronze stylized leaf feet resting on a wavy stepped platform. Stamped on the underside “Tiffany Studios New York 28610,” the 23-inch-high lamp with 16-inch-diameter shade was in very good to excellent condition with only a few tight hairlines.
The parade of Tiffany lamps was interrupted by an outlier, a Handel reverse painted Underwater lamp, so-called because the shade has an underwater scene with fish swimming through aquatic vegetation against a shaded green background. This lamp finished at $36,300, in the middle of its estimate. The 15¼-inch shade, signed “Handel 6393,” rested on an original Handel mermaid base with a brown finish.
A wide variety of art glass combined with the lamps and jewelry to drive the results of this sale. Among the highlights was a scarce Daum Nancy cameo Snail vase that went out at $21,780. The exceptional French vase had an acid cut grapevine pattern in bright vitrified colors that popped against the internal mottled decoration of yellow, pink, orange and amethyst hues. The vase further exhibited some dimensionality with several applied “grape” discs and two applied wheel-carved snails. The piece was signed on the underside with engraved “Daum Nancy” and stood 13 inches tall.
French cameo glass was also represented by an E. Michel bottle with crackled interior, interior decoration of mottled bands of red and cream and emerald green threading surrounding its bottom half. Water lilies in frosted cream color were depicted on green cameo lily pads on all four sides, each side also featuring applied flowers and buds. The 8¼-inch-high bottle, topped by an internally decorated stopper with flowing colors of red, white, green and orange, sold for $20,570.
From another unreserved estate collection, that of Lynda Cunningham, a dealer/collector from upstate New York and longtime Tiffany enthusiast, came more than 150 lots of Tiffany Studios metalware that included lighting, desk pieces, candlesticks and candelabra. According to Fredericks, in the early 1900s, Tiffany Studios designed and produced an incredible array of candlesticks, candelabra and luxury household items they termed “Fancy Goods” for the well-heeled consumer. One of these undoubtedly was a Peacock mirror produced by Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company. Housed in a cast bronze frame with peacock feather design, along with a stylized floral design framing it, the mirror would have been a must-have dressing table accessory for a lady, and it sold for $13,310, more than three times its high estimate. It was in pristine condition, perhaps due to the fact that it had been found in a box in the basement, according to Fredericks.
The same estate consigned an elaborate Tiffany Studios jeweled candelabra with eight arms, each supporting a bulbous candle cup with a band of iridescent glass cabochon jewels. Finished in a rich, brown patina with green and red highlights, the piece came complete with a candle snuffer that stores in the center handle. The final price doubled its high estimate to settle at $12,100.
After the sale, Fredericks told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that the record-breaking sale was testament to the two strong unreserved collections – Texas and Lynda Cunningham – both of which doubled their estimate and led to a very strong performance across the board. “Every category had an impact,” he said. Attendance was also notable, he added. “Normally, you might have 40-50 people in the gallery these days, but for this sale we had more than 100. Bidders from as far away as Japan flew in to participate in person.”
The sale had a total of 736 bidders, about equally divided between registered in-house participants and those who bid via two online platforms, Invaluable and Bidsquare, according to Scott Wentzell, marketing director.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.jamesdjulia.com or 207-453-7125.
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