My buddy Steve was in town last week we had an adventure while walking up Madison after venturing into Bloomingdales.
We walked past a store which had three Tiffany lamps displayed in the window which caught our eye. Steve and I stopped and starting talking about my mother's sale at Sotheby's this past summer, when—all of a sudden—a handsome man on the other side of the glass good-naturedly waved us in.
Upon entering, handsome man and I knew we had met before, and before I could figure out where, he said: "We met in the elevator at Sotheby's!" And indeed we had! He had been most enthusiastic about my mother's lamps, and here we were standing in his beautiful gallery.
Presto, chango— Benjamin Macklowe of Macklowe Gallery invited us downstairs to view his Tiffany lamps. A more gracious gentleman you will not meet. Of course, the first lamp that caught my eye was a prism lamp very similar to the one my mother sold at Sotheby's.
Mr. Macklowe has a stunning collection of Tiffany lamps, which comprises the heart of the gallery's business. They are beautifully displayed against a background of gilt wallpaper which brings out the gorgeous coloring of Tiffany's glass. My iPhone photos really don't do them justice!
There was a time when Tiffany glass was considered old fashioned, a view which I have come to see as misguided and uniformed. The great beauty of the these lamps can work in maximalist and minimalist interiors as long as everything else in the space respects their level of craftsmanship which is unsurpassed.
For me, these lamps are like going to the opera. They are emotional, unabashedly extroverted and full of vibrant color—all the things you want in a great opera singer.
And like any great piece of music, these lamps tell a story and well as have a story. I have only to reflect on how my father acquired his own Tiffany lamps back in the 60's, when you could find them for a pittance of their current worth.
One had been stored in a coal cellar, and arrived home pitch black, only to reveal its brilliant coloring upon cleaning, while another was acquired after being the odd man out at a estate sale. It was the only thing left when my father arrived! No one wanted it.
How times have changed. Now Tiffany's lamps are highly prized, and I consider myself very fortunate to have lived with them most of my life. Their aesthetic defines my childhood, life as a musician, and memories of my father.