by Kate Nixon
Photos and item descriptions courtesy of Rago Arts
David Rago recently revealed the story behind a rare Tiffany lamp up for auction in May; read the story below and get a preview of important lots from Rago’s Early 20th Century Design auction PLUS an update from the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms…
Important works from the Robert A. Ellison collection and Ohr pottery from the Estate of Martin and Estelle Shack will be among the several items available to bid during the May 13th Early 20th Century Design auction at Rago Arts and Auction Center. The auction will be open to the public at Rago’s Art and Auction Center, where attendees in house can follow COVID safety protocol available. The auction is additionally available to others bidding online, through absentee bid, and over the phone.
The auction features both American and European works in design, lighting and the decorative arts, however, a large selection of American art pottery is offered including a number of works by George Ohr, works coming from the Robert A. Ellison collection and the Estate of Martin and Estelle Shack. In addition to ceramics, metalwork, furniture and lighting will be included by Tiffany Studios, Gustav Stickley, Emile Galle and more.
While this auction holds a number of items that have a rare and important quality to them, one item – a stunning and unique Tiffany lamp – has a story that goes all the way back to the Paris Exposition in 1900. David Rago of Rago Arts and Auction Center researched the work, even enlisting the help of Dr. Martin Eidelberg, and recently revealed the story of the lamp which was found in an old photo.
“[The lamp] came through a liquidator from a private estate in the south. After much research (including enlisting Dr. Martin Eidelberg, who understands such things as no other), we discovered what makes this so special,” said Rago. “Where most Tiffany lamps have cast bronze bases with glass-fitted, leaded shades, this Dandelion Lamp has a base of tooled copper, and hand-wrought, repousse raised decoration, chased to accentuate the edges of the dandelion stems and buds. The dark brown patination is augmented with silver and gilt on the raised flowers and dandelion puffs. The shade is a one-off white sphere meant to replicate the crown a large dandelion gone to seed.
“Because the shade is hand blown, and the patterning within is unique to the piece, we were able to compare it to a photo from the Paris Exposition in 1900. It is the same lamp. Dr. Eidelberg then informed us the lamp traveled back to New York, to the Buffalo Exposition in 1901. And then it disappeared, presumably forever. Now it resides in Lambertville, New Jersey, awaiting our May auction.”
It’s safe to say eyes will be on the Tiffany lamp to find out what happens to the lamp on the May 13th auction, but here are a few other works up for bid at the Rago auction that we’ll be keeping our eyes on.
Lot 124: Addison LeBoutillier for Grueby Faience Company The Pines tiles, set of two
glazed earthenware decorated in cuenca
Lot 141: Ellsworth Woodward for Newcomb College Pottery Rare and Early vase
Lot 104: George E. Ohr Exceptional and Large coupe
Lot 120: David Drake (Dave the Potter) for Lewis Miles Pottery Rare storage jar
Lot 174: George E. Ohr Exceptional and Large pitcher
An Update from Vonda Givens, Executive Director of the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms…
The Stickley Museum has recently announced that because of damage incurred from last year’s Tropical Storm Isaias, the museum and grounds of Craftsman Farms cannot yet re-open.
In August 4th of last year, a massive tree fell on the Log House Annex, which served as the museum’s main educational program space at the time while they were in the process of moving resources to their new education center.
According to Executive Director Givens, despite the extremely challenging year, the Stickley Museum is continuing to move forward with hope and remains grateful for the generosity of Stickley fans everywhere. Givens reached out to us with the following response:
“Last year, a few months after the museum had ceased tours mid-March, and just as we were adapting operations to all-virtual content, we faced a new challenge when a destructive tropical storm tore through Craftsman Farms in August. The Log House was spared significant damage, but the Annex, the building adjacent to it—an open-air dining area in Stickley’s time that was later enclosed—suffered severe damage. Since last August we have been working on recovery, which has experienced delays related to COVID-19, and planning for rebuilding.”
“Last August we had just moved into the new Education Center and were still in the final stages of that project, when we were faced with an all new building project. It has been a challenge, during an already uncertain time, but as we address the damage, we hope to move beyond recovery and turn this challenge into opportunity. Though the museum remains closed, we hope we’re laying the foundation for an even stronger institution in the future.”
“We are grateful for Stickley fans around the country who care about Craftsman Farms and the museum. How can they help right now? Stickley fans can support the museum and help us stay strong in 2021 in many ways: make a donation, become a Member (or renew your membership), take a class, make a purchase from our shop or simply tell your friends about us and share our Facebook posts.”
To see the most up-to-date news about the museum’s re-opening and read their recent newsletters, click here to view their news page.