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Tiffany Studios New York Miniature "Dragonfly" Table Lamp

This Tiffany Studios New York glass and bronze “Dragonfly” table lamp features a leaded glass shade depicting amber dragonflies with light blue and mauve-colored wings, against a streaky kelly green and aqua shade; further adorned with cerulean, lapis, and topaz glass “jewels." The shade sits atop a Mosaic base comprised of iridescent green and silver mosaic tiles and enhanced by a patinated bronze tendriled structure.  Flying dragonflies in bronze relief decorate the foot of the base.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: L-20740
Artist: Tiffany Studios New York
Country: United States
Circa: 1910
Dimensions: 14" diameter, 19" height
Materials: Favrile Glass, Bronze
Shade Signed: Tiffany Studios New York 1585
Base Signed: Tiffany Studios New York 356
Literature: Robert Koch, Louis C. Tiffany: Rebel in Glass, New York, 1964, pl. iv (for similar shade) Alastair Duncan, Tiffany At Auction, New York, 1981, pp. 77, no. 206 and 98, no. 267 (for similar shade) Tiffany Lamps and Metalware: An illustrated reference to over 2000 models, by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge: Suffolk: Antique Collectors' Club, 1988, p. 72, plate 276-277 (for similar base)

In their various iterations, dating from 1906 and before, dragonfly lamps were among the earliest, most popular, and most costly of Tiffany Studios designs. The dragonfly was a leitmotif of the Art Nouveau, but Louis Tiffany encountered the creature and explored its form and significance throughout his childhood and artistic life, beginning as a youngster who sketched au plein air in the woods and wetlands surrounding his father’s summer house. At Tiffany & Co., Louis encountered dragonflies in the metalwork of Edward C. Moore, who was strongly inspired by the Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock prints and their evocative views into the minute worlds of butterflies, dragonflies and grasshoppers. At his Laurelton Hall estate, an artwork of nature coaxed into form over decades, Tiffany observed these insects in the teeming salt water marshes and wetlands of Oyster Bay. The dragonfly’s iridescent wings, lustrous, metallic body, and wetland habitat of blues and greens embodied many of Louis’ fascinations with the ephemeral phenomena of color and light. Dragonflies served as inspiration in a variety of Louis’ most notable lamps, as well a remarkable early jewel, the dragonfly hair ornament in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since Tiffany Studio artisans were given the freedom to select particular textures, patterns, hues, tones and saturations of the glass they would use for each shade, the lamps are unique in subtle ways. Among this lamp’s particular charms is the dichroism of its shade. The reddish amber dichroism of the green glass, an innovative effect achieved through the addition of minute amounts of silver and gold, is readily seen when the shade is viewed from within.