Louis C. Tiffany Furnaces, Inc.
Inkstand and Paper Knife, circa 1920-1924
Gilt-bronze and Favrile glass mosaic tiles
Stamped LOUIS C. TIFFANY FURNACES, INC. and S 208, inscribed Property of Potter Palmer, 1301 N. Astor Street, Chicago, Ill.
Height of inkstand 4 3/4 inches, width 12 3/4 inches, depth 7 1/4 inches, length of knife 10 1/4 inches.
Objects designed in the medium of Favrile glass mosaic such as murals for domestic interiors, lamp bases and desk accessories, including the gilt-bronze and rainbow-hued Favrile glass mosaic inkstand offered here, are an enduring legacy of the artistic and creative genius of Louis Comfort Tiffany and his artisans. The inkstand and paper knife desk set offered here was made between 1920 and 1924. It was owned by Potter Palmer II (1875-1943), son of Potter Palmer (1826-1902), the Chicago business magnate, business partner of Marshall Field and builder of downtown Chicago's luxurious Palmer House, and Bertha Matilde Honoré (1849-1918), a wealthy socialite, philanthropist and art collector, who befriended Claude Monet in France and amassed a large collection of impressionist art. In fact, Potter and Bertha Palmer eventually owned twenty-nine Monet paintings and eleven Renoir paintings, which they later donated to the Art Institute of Chicago, forming the core of the institution's collection of impressionist art. Palmer II was director of the First National Bank of Chicago and President of the Art Institute of Chicago. Potter and Bertha Palmer and their family resided in a grand mansion on Chicago's North Lake Shore Drive, known as Potter Palmer Castle. After living in the old family mansion for about ten years after his mother's death, Palmer II sold the family residence in 1930 and moved his family into a nearby modern sixteen-story cooperative apartment building, located at 1301 N. Astor Street, occupying three floors as well as the ground floor lobby. When he died in 1943, he left his wife Pauline an estate then valued at 4.5 million dollars. Decorated in the Art Nouveau style with its impressionistic red and golden-hued poppies against a blue-green ground, this exquisite and jewel-like covered box is an exceedingly rare example of enamel ware made by Tiffany Studios. These wares were introduced to the public by the firm in 1900 at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, where they received great acclaim. A novel quality was the addition of a layer of gold or silver foil to the copper body and undercoat of thin enamel that resulted in greater luminescence, metallic brilliance and depth of beauty. Vases, bowls and covered boxes were made, most of which were small in scale, and decorated with colorful iridescent enameled surfaces. Some examples have smooth surfaces while others display naturalistic or shaped bodies created to heighten the artistic effect. By the time production was ceased in 1907 it seems the enameling department had produced no more than 750 pieces.
Additional Notes & Condition Report
Inkwell: appears to be in generally good condition; it appears to be original to the inkstand or at least it is certainly of the period; it is molded with the maker's mark: SENGBUSCH SELF-CLOSING INKSTAND CO. MILWAUKEE.WIS PAT.APR.21.03 AUG.28.04 JAN.15.07.SEPT.1.14
Paper Knife: appears to be in generally good clean condiiton; the tip end appears to be in good condition, i.e., not bend or tip end is not missing; there is wear to the gilding, consistent with age, usage and handling, not of any real consuquence; the greatest wear appears to be in the handle area; there does not appear to be any Tiffany maker's mark on this item, rather, it appears to be unsigned; the decoration on this paper knife appears to be consistent with the decoration on the inkstand.
Any condition statement is given as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Doyle New York shall have no responsibility for any error or omission. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging.
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