Just a quick note in the new year dear readers. The design auctions concluded just before the holidays and Sotheby's set a new world record for the Wisteria lamp model by Tiffany Studios. For an in-depth discussion of this design and its market, see my previous post here
. Sotheby's distinctive example reached a staggering $1,565,000 against an estimate of $600,000-800,000.
|Tiffany Studios Wisteria Lamp, Sotheby's New York 18 December 2013, lot 330|
The lamp had many things going for it. It was slightly deeper in tone in person and had a range of mottled turquoise glass along the lower border which gave an added sense of depth. The lamp also had the added benefit of an impeccable provenance. The lamp descended in the family of Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza of Madrid who acquired the work around 1975. I have known dealers to ask this price range for the Wisteria model in a retail setting so it seems clear to me that lamp was very likely purchased by a private buyer, pushing the bidding into the retail realm. No details have surfaced yet, but I have a few ideas.
The previous record was also set by Sotheby's for a Wisteria from the collection of John M. Fowler.
|Tiffany Studios Wisteria Lamp, Sotheby's New York 14 December 2007, lot 208|
This example was similarly saturated in tones and also had a range of deeply mottled glass. At the height of the pre-crash market it reached $881,000 against and estimate of $450,000-600,000. While the Wisteria is not the rarest of examples it is infinitely desirable to collectors and nuanced, saturated examples have always been the largest movers in the market. Throughout the 1970s auction records for the Wisteria climbed steadily from $16,250 for an example at Sotheby's London in 1971 to an example at Christie's in the fall of 1978 that moved the record to $52,800. However, before the close of the decade the example would be one of the very first tiffany lamps ever to exceed $100,000 at auction.
|Tiffany Studios Wisteria Lamp, Christie's New York 17 February 1979, lot 53 ($132,000)|
The Wisteria in question came from the collection of Florida real estate magnates Eugene and Eleanor Gluck offered at Christie's in February of 1979. For insight on the Gluck sale see my previous post here
. The period press described the Gluck's Wisteria as the best that had been seen at market achieving $132,000. The catalogue image above seem's a bit dark but it appears to be a mottled example with greenish turquoise glass used in the lower register to articulate the blooms. If this example were to hit the market today it would very likely exceed the newly established world record. We shall wait and see what the future auction seasons bring us. Until next time--AR.