A Passion for Tiffany Lamps
April 10, 2013 – September 4, 2018
Austrian immigrants Dr. Egon Neustadt (1898–1984) and his wife Hildegard (1910–1961) were among the earliest collectors of works by American artist Louis C. Tiffany (1848–1933). The Neustadts bought their first Tiffany lamp from a second-hand shop in Greenwich Village in 1935 when Tiffany’s designs were out of fashion and at odds with popular tastes. Newly married, they were decorating their home in Flushing, Queens, when they stumbled upon a colorful stained-glass ‘Daffodil’ lamp. Enamored of all things American, they were delighted to learn that the beautiful lampshade was made in the country they now proudly called home. They purchased the lamp for $12.50. Over the course of the next fifty years, their collection grew to include more than 200 lamps of all shapes, sizes, and designs.
This exhibition highlights the extraordinary scope of the Neustadts’ collection. It is organized according to Dr. Neustadt’s classification of the lamps by shape and motif, from ‘simple’ blown-glass to elaborate floral patterns. Included here are examples of Tiffany’s most iconic lamps – the Wisteria and Dragonfly – along with unusual models produced in limited number, such as the Pond Lily globe and Peacock hanging shade. A remarkable feature of the collection is that it contains multiple examples of a single lamp design, which illustrates that every Tiffany lamp is unique – no two Tiffany lamps are identical.
Egon and Hildegard Neustadts’ collecting foresight played an important role in furthering interest in Tiffany lamps. Their passion for Tiffany contributed greatly to the preservation of Tiffany’s artistic legacy, which continues to captivate and inspire audiences today.