Published: December 21, 2021
NEW YORK CITY— Louis Comfort Tiffany’s “Medusa” Pendant sold for $3,650,000 in Sotheby’s December 7 Magnificent Jewelry sale, establishing a record for works made by the artist, but not by his studio. The work was set in gold with opal, demantoid garnet and colored stones.
The “Medusa” pendant was created by Tiffany between 1902 and 1904 and exhibited in the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair in the Tiffany & Co display. It was one of 27 works from the company in the display, of which only three are known today. Following the World’s Fair, Tiffany exhibited both his “Peacock” necklace and “Medusa” pendant at the Société des Artistes Français in Paris in 1906.
The “Medusa” pendant was first purchased by Henry Walters, the railroad baron who established the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore in 1909. In addition to his sprawling art collection, Walters patronized Tiffany for his jewelry creations, which he purchased for his sister Jennie Walters Delano and her daughters, his gallery, himself, and for his partners Pembroke Jones and Sadie Green. Walter purchased the “Medusa” pendant and the “Peacock” necklace at the 1906 exhibition and the auction house theorized the “Medusa” was a gift for Jones. She would own it until her death, at which point it passed to Sadie Green, who married Walters. It was in her personal collection until the 1943 single-owner sale at Parke-Bernet Galleries offering the “Art Collection of the Late Mrs Henry Walters.” It was there, or shortly thereafter, that the pendant was acquired by Salman Schocken — a fine art and book collector — as a gift for his daughter-in-law, Devora Schocken, an influential Israeli art figure who ran an eponymous gallery and co-founded the first auction house in that country. It passed down through that family until it was sold at Sotheby’s on December 7.
For information, www.sothebys.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm