Above: Dr. Egon Neustadt in his “apartment-museum.” © Mathew Brady.


Meet the man behind the collection

Austrian immigrant Dr. Egon Neustadt (1898–1984) was among the earliest collectors of works by American artist Louis C. Tiffany (1848–1933). He purchased his 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, he and his wife, Hildegard, were decorating their home in Flushing, Queens, and were searching for furniture. Egon recalled that while he measured dining room tables, Hildegard excitedly admired an old stained-glass daffodil lampshade, “which gave a fascinating effect of real flowers growing in a real garden.” Their budget was limited, however, and the Neustadts had to leave the shade behind. But Hildegard eventually convinced Egon to return to the shop for a second look. Enamored of all things American, they were delighted to learn that the beautiful daffodil lampshade was made in the country they now proudly called home. They purchased the lamp for $12.50.

As Dr. Neustadt’s professional career as an orthodontist and real estate developer flourished, he acquired additional Tiffany lamps in all shapes, sizes, and patterns, as well as leaded-glass windows and bronze desk sets. In 1967, Egon had the foresight to purchase a treasure trove of opalescent sheet glass and pressed-glass “jewels” left over when the Tiffany Studios closed in the late 1930s. A few years later, he published The Lamps of Tiffany, a lavishly illustrated and indispensable guide documenting this glass and the range of lamp designs made at the Tiffany Studios.

Dr. Neustadt went on to amass the largest and most encyclopedic collection of Tiffany lamps ever assembled. A remarkable feature of the collection is that it contains multiple examples of a single lamp design. Thanks to the power of glass selection, each lamp is unique, making this a true connoisseur’s collection. Egon’s passion for Tiffany, coupled with his collecting foresight, played an important role in furthering interest in Tiffany lamps and greatly contributed to the preservation of Tiffany’s artistic legacy, which continues to captivate and inspire audiences today.



“We had no idea it was a Tiffany or who Tiffany was, but we bought it for $12.50 and took it home and I put it on my desk. Our friends didn’t like it.”

– Dr. Egon Neustadt


Purchase The Lamps of Tiffany

1898: Egon Neustadt is born in Vienna, Austria, to a large, socially prominent family. He is the middle child. Coincidentally, the first leaded-glass Tiffany lamps are created the same year.
1909: Egon's mother, Irma, passes away in Vienna at age 36. Egon is nine years old.
1913: Early in his life, Egon develops a love of nature. He describes taking great pleasure in flowers and trees in parks near his home and on summer vacations in the country.
1923: Egon reads a book by a German immigrant to the United States and is inspired by his account of a new life filled with liberty and individual freedoms. Egon views this as a sharp contrast to the prevailing traditions in European countries and resolves to move to America.
1924: Egon graduates from the medical school at the University of Vienna. His specialty is histopathology (the study of diseased tissue), with a focus on the bone structure of the jaw.
1924: Egon sets in motion his plan for moving to the United States, but has difficulty obtaining a visa. However, as a member of the Vienna Tennis Club, Egon receives a travel visa to London to serve as a substitute for a sick teammate at Wimbledon. He never returns to Vienna.
1925: Against his family's wishes, Egon buys a third-class (steerage) ticket from London to America. He arrives in New York City with $10 in his pocket. He is 25 years old. To earn a living, he takes a sales job at Macy's and works as a teller in a bank.
1926-1930: Egon networks in professional medical circles. He becomes an instructor at the Dewey School of Orthodontia and New York University's College of Dentristry. Orthodontia is a newly emerging specialty and Egon's work is groundbreaking. He opens a private practice.
1933: Egon's future wife, Hildegard Steininger (b. 1910), a 22-year-old nurse from Vienna, Austria, immigrates to America. Egon hires her as an assistant in his orthodontia practice.
1935: Egon and Hildegard marry and settle in Flushing, Queens. They buy their first Tiffany lamp in a secondhand shop in Greenwich village for $12.50. The Louis C. Tiffany Studios will close for good two years later, in 1937.
1945: The Neustadts purchase 400 acres on Candlewood Lake in Sherman, Connecticut. The mountainous terrain reminds them of the Austrian Alps. They develop a private community called Candlewood Lake Estates and build a country house for themselves.
1958: The Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York (today the Museum of Art and Design) mounts an exhibition on Tiffany. It is the first major museum exhibition since his death. This marks the beginning of a revived interest in Tiffany's work.
1961: After a long illness, Hildegard Neustadt passes away in Sherman, Connecticut, at age 50. To memorialize his beloved wife, Dr. Neustadt inserts Hildegard's likeness into a Tiffany figural window whose face has been shattered beyond repair.
1967: Dr. Neustadt's lamp collection is extensive. He makes one of his most important purchases: a treasure trove of some 500 crates of Tiffany Studios flat glass and glass "jewels."
1969: Dr. Neustadt founds The Egon and Hildegard Neustadt Museum of Tiffany Art (today, The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass). He displays his lamps and windows in his "apartment museum" on East 62nd Street in Manhattan.
1970: Dr. Neustadt publishes The Lamps of Tiffany, a lavishly-illustrated compendium of his vast collection. It is the first attempt to classify Tiffany lamps according to shape and motif.
1983: The World of Tiffany: The Egon Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Lamps, opens at the New-York Historical Society. Featuring 133 works, it is the most comprehensive exhibition of Tiffany lamps ever held. Dr. Neustadt donates these lamps to the N-YHS following the close of the exhibition.
1984: Dr. Egon Neustadt passes away in New York at age 86.