It’s always a winning bet to invest in the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany—according to Sotheby’s chairman and head of 20th-Century Design, Jodi Pollack, “If you look back over time, Tiffany seems to be the one area that has proven to be recession-proof”—but the American artist’s oeuvre has recently become more collectible than ever. With record-setting prices at auction and a host of A-list designers placing the works in important spaces (Tiffany & Co.’s newly-renovated “Landmark”, for one), it’s the ideal time to start a collection. If you’re new to the world of LCT and need some guidance on your first acquisition, Macklowe Gallery offers this comprehensive guide to help get you started.
1. Start with Strong Value
As a “starter lamp”, consider the swirling iridescence of a Damascene or the golden glow of a Lily. These shades have the favrile or hand-wrought aesthetic, thanks to their iridescence, but were less labor-intensive to produce than an intricate leaded shade, making them more accessibly-priced. If you love the look of a classic Tiffany leaded shade, a Geometric lamp with a simple pattern is often the best value—and works especially well in minimalist interiors. 2. Consider Scale to Maximize Impact
You needn’t design an entire room around a monumental floor lamp to make Tiffany shine. Make a lighting fixture the centerpiece of a small space, like a narrow foyer or a powder room, to let it deliver maximum impact. A chandelier or ceiling fixture is ideal not only for anchoring a room, but for casting beautiful reflections that create a magical glow upon every entry and exit.3. Prioritize Color vs. Specific Motif
Seasoned Tiffany collectors prize superior color and high saturation, which is more eye-catching and more difficult to achieve in glass. Focusing your search on a rich hue will deliver more value than an elaborate but lesser-colored floral motif.
4. Consider Condition Carefully
When acquiring a Tiffany lamp, it's crucial to recognize that you're obtaining a piece that has surpassed a century in existence. While some cracks may be expected, it is essential to ensure that the condition report does not highlight significant areas of damage or replacements. You can discern whether glass has been replaced by examining the thickness of the leading—if a line appears conspicuously thicker in width or depth, it likely underwent replacement.
Louis Comfort Tiffany intended for customers to freely combine bases and shades according to their preferences and interior design. However, if you happen to have an original base and shade pairing, our expert curators can certainly inform you. Macklowe Gallery meticulously selects lamps that adhere to these standards, ensuring that if you acquire from us, they should meet the criteria for deaccession once your stewardship of the piece concludes.
Discover our comprehensive collection of Tiffany lamps—then reach out to our team of expert curators for more advice on beginning your collecting journey.