A Special Symposium
Beguiled by Tiffany: 125 Years of Collecting was the first scholarly symposium to explore the incredible history of Tiffany collecting, which spans more than a century. Leading experts traced this history from the 1890s with Tiffany's contemporaries and earliest patrons, up through the present day with current collectors, sharing collection highlights and behind-the-scenes stories along the way.
Organized by The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, this symposium celebrated the 50th anniversary of the museum and its visionary founder, early Tiffany collector Dr. Egon Neustadt.
8:00 – 9:00 am
9:00 – 9:15 am
Welcome & Introduction
9:15 – 10:00 am
A Cohort of Collectors: Tiffany's Earliest Patrons
Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen
Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator of American Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This lecture focused on four of Tiffany’s earliest patrons: Louisine and H. O. Havemeyer, Emily and Robert W. De Forest, Charles W. Gould, and Hugh J. Grant. All were New Yorkers and Louis C. Tiffany’s contemporaries, and for the most part they developed close personal and/or professional relationships with the artist. Tiffany was involved in the decoration of some of their homes, providing lighting, mosaics, and other decorative elements. Likewise, they acquired Favrile glass vases, enamelwork, paintings, and other works. In addition to their deep appreciation of Tiffany’s work, they were all exceptionally philanthropic to New York cultural and educational institutions. This lecture presented the four collectors and a selection of their Tiffany holdings, bringing to light some familiar works in a new context and highlighting hitherto unknown connections and works of art.
10:00 – 10:15 am
10:15 – 11:00 am
When More is More: Tiffany Lamps and Glass Galore!
Lindsy R. Parrott
Executive Director and Curator, The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass
From 1935 until his death in 1984, Dr. Egon Neustadt, founder of The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, built an unparalleled collection of more than two hundred Tiffany lamps and a unique trove of Tiffany sheet glass and ‘jewels.’ An Austrian immigrant enamored of all things American, Dr. Neustadt appreciated the beauty of Tiffany’s work, even when it was out of fashion, and became one of the earliest Tiffany collectors. With no roadmap for collecting Tiffany objects, he developed his connoisseurship skills as he went, eventually amassing a collection renowned for its remarkable breadth and depth—a veritable catalogue of Tiffany lamps and glass—which he shared in his groundbreaking book, The Lamps of Tiffany, published in 1970. This lecture traced Dr. Neustadt’s collecting journey and considered his motivations, methods and even occasional missteps. It also drew from his recently discovered, hand-written memoir to provide new insights into the man behind the collection.
11:00 – 11:45 am
The Lost Treasures: Tiffany's Museum Reborn
Jennifer Perry Thalheimer
Curator and Collection Manager, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Collector and Morse Museum founder Hugh F. McKean's admiration for Louis Comfort began in 1930 while he was a fellow at the foundation Tiffany established for young artists at his Long Island home, Laurelton Hall. Though Mr. McKean (1908-1995) was surrounded by the incredible selection of objects Tiffany gathered there, it was Tiffany's character that most fascinated him. The 1946 dissolution of the collection at Laurelton Hall, and ultimately its fiery end in 1957, drove McKean to conjure at the Morse Museum the unique artistic spirit that characterized Laurelton Hall. In the ensuing years, he and his wife, Jeannette Genius McKean (1909-1989), gradually reunited its surviving treasures at the Morse Museum. McKean's personal experiences with Tiffany and Laurelton Hall were etched so vividly in his mind that a half-century later he was able to write about Tiffany the man, his art, and his time period with an incredible sense of immediacy in his book The "Lost" Treasures of Louis Comfort Tiffany (Doubleday, 1980). By the time it was published, the McKeans had established the most comprehensive Tiffany collection in the world.
12:00 – 1:30 pm
1:30 – 2:15 pm
From Modest Intrigue to Obsessive Pursuit: My Parents' Collecting Journey
Author of The Art Glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany and first Curator of Glass, Chrysler Museum of Art
This lecture described how a young couple from New Jersey, while raising four children, became intrigued with collecting glass during the 1960s and, along the way, assembled one of the finest private collections of objects relating to Louis C. Tiffany and the Tiffany Studios in the world.
2:15 – 3:00 pm
Appreciating Tiffany While Tiffany Appreciates
Owner, Lillian Nassau, LLC
Over the course of four decades, Arlie Sulka has closely followed the market for the work of Louis C. Tiffany and Tiffany Studios and observed a continuing and growing interest among old and new collectors. Since the mid-1950s, when the late Mrs. Lillian Nassau almost single-handedly revived interest in Tiffany, the value of these important works has steadily appreciated as collectors have grown increasingly sophisticated and as scholars have revealed more detailed information about Tiffany's studios and artwork. During her talk, Ms. Sulka compared original prices when objects were first sold by Tiffany Studios with their present-day values, tracing their increases over the past six decades and describing how great Tiffany collections are being formed today.
3:00 – 3:15 pm
3:15 – 4:00 pm
Closing Discussion and Q&A with Symposium Speakers