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Complimentary gift wrap & shipping - Order before 12/22
Complimentary gift wrap & shipping - Order before 12/22

Tiffany Studios New York "Greek Key" Floor Lamp

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This "Greek Key" floor lamp by Tiffany Studios New York is notable for the simple elegance of its design, but particularly exceptional for the striking quality of its color. This particular lamp's shade features a richness of hues rarely seen in a "geometric" shade, with orange and gold mottled glass ground with a Greek key border in highly contrasting tones of light green, gold, and dark amber-colored glass, the coloration of this lamp, when both on and off, is simply remarkable. The shade sits atop a junior decorated floor base.

 

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: L-20495 
Artist: Tiffany Studios New York 
Circa: 1900 
Dimensions: 22" diameter, 68" height 
Materials: Bronze, Glass 
Shade Signed: ''Tiffany Studios New York 1907''
Base Signed: ''Tiffany Studios New York 370"
Literature: Similar shade and base are pictured separately in Tiffany Lamps and Metalware: An illustrated reference to over 2000 models, by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge: Suffolk: Antique Collectors' Club, 1988 (shade: p. 184, plate 724; base: p. 206, plate 801)

Tiffany was a man preoccupied with Grecian decor. At only 22, Tiffany and the eminent Hudson River School painter Robert Swain Gifford made trips to the ruins of Pompeii. From his trip to Pompeii, two things would impress upon the young Tiffany. The first was the geometric complexity of Greco-Roman design. To the Greeks geometry was more than decoration, it was divinity itself The "Greek Key" pattern was modeled after the Minotaur's labyrinth, symbolizing cosmological infinity, and unity.

The second was the vibrant color of antiquity. Opposed to the prevailing belief that the ancient world was devoid of color, the frescoes and mosaics of Pompeii revealed the vibrancy of ancient life. Tiffany's "Greek Key" chandelier reflects the color of Pompeii in its polychromatic palette. The "Greek key" pattern was a rectilinear abstraction of ancient wave patterns. The pattern's original Greek name, meandros, referred to the shifting, twisting path of the Meander River of Phyrigia, in the Mediterranean region of present-day Turkey.

In the same year that this lamp was produced, Tiffany threw his famed Quest of Beauty pageant for his sixty-eighth birthday. The Greek pageant illustrated the journey of mankind from caveman to cultured artistic civilization. Tiffany spared no expense, spending $10,000 on lights, and hiring a cast of forty-two professional actors. Each tier of the stage was wrapped with "Greek key" patterns while the edge of the stage was wrapped with a wave pattern, in almost perfect mimesis of the lamp we see today.
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