Tiffany Studios - Design New York Thursday, June 8, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Louis Tiffany first set out to become a painter, but by the early 1890s he had proved himself a more highly skilled glassmaker than artist. Propelled by his love of nature and the expressive power of color, light and line in glass, Tiffany introduced fresh perspectives and radical techniques to decorative design throughout his decades-long career. While influenced by the exquisite blown glass vessels being produced at the turn of the century by leading firms such as Gallé and Daum Freres in Nancy, France, as well as Thomas Webb and Sons in Stourbridge, England, Tiffany forged his own creative path. The establishment of his own glasshouse in 1893 in Corona, Queens, New York allowed him the freedom to not only draw inspiration from old traditions of glassmaking and from his contemporaries in Europe, but to experiment with the material and manipulate it beyond its limits. There was simply no lack of originality in his work.


    A similar vase, illustrated in Tiffany Favrile Glass (1899).

     The 1890s are recognized as one of Tiffany’s most innovative periods of glass design. Favrile vases were first exhibited in his Manhattan showroom in 1894 and were widely celebrated for their brilliant iridescence, bold colors, organic forms and technical imagination. The present vase is an early piece, created circa 1896. Forsaking a colorful iridescent surface for an expertly engraved clear body, this vase is an exuberant ode to historic influences that gives way to a peek into the future. Its exceptional craftsmanship leads one to believe that it was likely carved by Fredolin Kreischmann, an artisan who was considered not only Tiffany’s most gifted engraver, but also one of the most skillful glass cutters of his time. Born in Bohemia in 1853, Fredolin immigrated to England as a young man, gained experience working with cameo glass while employed by Thomas Webb and Sons, and made his way to America where he was hired by Tiffany in 1893 and remained until his untimely death in 1898 at the age of 45. His obituary published in The New York Sun noted “Fredolin Kreischmann, who was considered the most expert engraver on glass in this country, died suddenly at Corona, L.I….His work can be found in the drawing rooms of Messrs. Gould, Havemeyer, Sage, Vanderbilt and a host of other connoisseurs of high-art glass throughout the country, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the South Kensington Museum in London, the Luxembourg of Paris, the Royal Museum of Berlin and many other institutions.”


    The most arresting feature of the vase on offer is the vitality created by the intricate and complex engraving. Every detail is fully articulated, and through precise intaglio and wheel-carving the vase reflects the beauty of meandering lilies and delicate buttercups in various stages of growth. The coined rim and charmingly engraved insect crawling on a petal further enliven the composition, while colors of amethyst and yellow are lightly padded onto the transparent glass to accentuate the willowy flower blossoms. Only Tiffany Studios could achieve such a superb visual feast.

    • Literature

      Tiffany Favrile Glass, New York, 1899, n.p. for a similar example
      Katherine M. Huger, "Favrile Glass," Keramic Studio, May 1899, p. 10 for a similar example
      Martin Eidelberg, Tiffany Favrile Glass and the Quest of Beauty, New York, 2007, p. 51 for a similar example

    • Catalogue Essay

      Phillips would like to thank Paul Doros for his assistance cataloguing the present lot.

Property from an East Coast Collection


Vase with lilies and buttercups

circa 1896
Intaglio and wheel-carved Favrile glass.
8 in. (20.3 cm) high
Likely engraved by Fredolin Kreischmann. Underside engraved X3005.

Full Cataloguing

$12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for $24,130

Contact Specialist

Benjamin Green
Associate Specialist
Associate Head of Sale
+1 917 207 9090


New York Auction 8 June 2023