19th & 20th Century Furniture & Decorative Arts

Tiffany at the Hotel Manhattan

NEW YORK, NY -- The Hotel Manhattan, also known as the Manhattan Hotel, was a magnificent and lavishly appointed fourteen-story hotel located on the northwest corner of Madison Avenue and 42nd Street near Grand Central Terminal in New York City. It was designed in 1893 by the American architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh (1847-1918) and built between 1895-6 in the style of a French chateau. At one time, it held the title of being the tallest structure in the world. Hardenbergh is renowned for a body of work that includes the famed Dakota Apartments (1880-84), the Waldorf Hotel (1893), the Astoria Hotel (1897) and the Plaza Hotel (1905-07), all in New York City, as well as the Copley Plaza Hotel (1912) in Boston, the Willard Hotel (1901) in Washington, DC, and the Windsor Hotel (1897) in Montreal, Canada.

Henry J. Hardenbergh spared no expense in the interior appointments and decoration of the palatial Hotel Manhattan. Some of the luxurious details on view in the public rooms included marble wainscoting inlaid with Tiffany Favrile glass mosaics and at least four magnificent and impressive Tiffany bronze and Favrile glass lamps. At the time of the original commission, the Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company was relatively new, having been established only four years earlier by Louis Comfort Tiffany in 1892.

The hotel's official opening was reported and celebrated in The New York Times on October 15, 1896. The newspaper account describes the hotel's resplendent rotunda, which was decorated in the Italian Renaissance style. It had a twenty-foot-high ceiling, white marble floors and walls made of Italian light gray marble, which were divided into panels and decorated with friezes and arabesques made of Tiffany glass mosaic, mother-of-pearl and gold. The hotel was publicized in a promotional brochure issued by the Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company titled Glass Mosaic, published in 1896. It described the glass mosaics in the hotel's rotunda. A separate brochure published in 1917 included an article on the Hotel Manhattan, describing the rotunda in greater detail. It tells of a spectacular oil mural that was six feet high and sixty feet long painted above the wainscoting and depicting the Triumph of Manhattan. Above the mural was an arched skylight made of Tiffany Favrile glass. The brochure illustrates the parlor room of the State Suite, in which a stylish Tiffany lamp hung with iridescent glass prisms can be seen. The ceiling of the hotel's Palm Court, or Tea Room, featured a large circular dome of Tiffany Favrile glass, which certainly would have been a beautiful complement to the massive and impressive Tiffany lamps below.

The Doyle+Design auction on June 7, 2017 offers one of only two known surviving examples of the circa 1897 Tiffany Studios gilt-bronze and leaded Favrile glass lamps commissioned for Henry Hardenbergh’s Hotel Manhattan. The monumental Tiffany table lamp, with its generously-sized leaded green marbleized glass domed shade raised on a massive classical style base ending in winged lion monopode feet is identical in scale and appearance to two other Tiffany lamps that once adorned the hotel’s Palm Court, or Tea Room, differing only in that they feature floral rather than geometric shades.

The lamp in the June 7 auction was purchased by the present consignor at Doyle on March 25, 1987, lot 270. Only one other Tiffany lamp from this commission is currently known to exist. It exactly matches the lamp offered here and was sold at auction in New York City in 2009. These two rare surviving Tiffany lamps were earlier sold at auction in New York City in April 1974 as a single lot, together with the two tables upon which they were displayed at the luxury hotel.

Lot 325
Tiffany Studios Gilt-Bronze and Leaded Favrile Glass Oversize Table Lamp
Commissioned for Henry J. Hardenbergh's Hotel Manhattan, circa 1897
Shade stamped TIFFANY STUDIOS NEW YORK, base apparently unmarked.
Height overall 53 3/4 inches, height of shade 18 3/4 inches, diameter 31 inches.
C Estate of Harry Oppenheimer
Estimate: $40,000-60,000

Doyle would like to thank Paul Doros for bringing the 1917 brochure to our attention. We would also like to thank Paul Imrie for providing information pertaining to the 1974 auction sale of the two Tiffany lamps and two tables from the Manhattan Hotel.

Portrait of specialist Malcolm N.  MacNeil
VP/Director, 19th & 20th Century Decorative Arts
19th & 20th Century Furniture & Decorative Arts
View Specialist Profile