In June, Christie’s auctioned 44 Tiffany masterworks from the Garden Museum, a private collection in Japan, and the sale earned a whopping $6,662,124. One piece alone—a rare circa-1905 stained glass chandelier adorned with dragonflies—went for more than $1 million. The sale exceeded low estimates by 157%, and its highest earners were lamps.
It wasn’t exactly a surprise, at least not for Daphné Riou, Christie’s head of design. In December of 2020 the auction house held its first dedicated Tiffany sale since 2014—a resounding success that doubled estimates. “Since then,” Riou explains, “the interest in Tiffany at Christie’s has continued to grow, with sales dedicated to Tiffany every six months, which attract new collectors every time.”
Founded in the 1880s by painter and interior designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (the son of Charles Lewis Tiffany of jewelry brand Tiffany & Co.), Tiffany Studios is best known for its glasswork—iridescent favrile glass and leaded stained glass, which took the form of windows, mosaics, fire screens, decorative objects, and, of course, the iconic lamps. It is now common knowledge that it was actually a group of self-proclaimed Tiffany Girls who made the lamps under the guidance of Clara Driscoll, head of the women’s glass cutting department from 1892 to 1909.
For decades, outside of dedicated Tiffany collectors, the pieces—poster children, if you will, of Art Nouveau style—have felt more like relics of a bygone era than blue chip collectibles for contemporary homes. But as tastes take a turn toward more decorative interiors and shows like The Gilded Age create renewed intrigue in the era, there’s been an expanded interest around Tiffany. The RealReal listed one recently for $350,000.