1954 Tye of California Ceramic Lamp

Value (2014) | $1,200 Insurance
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GUEST:
I bought this lamp about 20 years ago at a thrift store here in Albuquerque. I just thought it was too cool, because it was scenes of Paris, and it has the holes in it, and the lights come through and the buildings of Paris.

APPRAISER:
What I love about it the most is this Fauvist interpretation of Paris at the time. And what I think we've got here is this homage to Raoul Dufy. This lamp is a painted, glazed, and carved ceramic atomic age lamp. And it's made by the Tye of California company, which was active in the Los Angeles area in the 1950s. And it's signed and marked "Tye," and dated 1954. And that's very interesting, because that's just one year after Raoul Dufy passed away. So this really great, vibrant depiction of Paris starts here on the front with this Café de Paris, and then it continues around with the Eiffel Tower, and then some diners dining outside. And if I go back the other way, it starts out with one of these great corner kiosks that you see throughout Paris, where various posters are posted. One of the most fun things about this, I think, are these holes that are drilled throughout, so that the light that emanates from within comes out, and it looks like it's the beautiful street scene of Paris at night.

GUEST:
One of the things I love doing is having only this light on in the room, so that all you see are the lights in the windows, and it's pretty beautiful. So you almost feel like you're in Paris.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, you get to just look at it, and the room is dark except for the little glowing lights.

GUEST:
The only thing I'm curious about is what kind of shade it would have, or what it should have.

APPRAISER:
I think this would have had a very 1950s circular drum form shade, perhaps something you would have seen on an episode of I Love Lucy.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
So tell me, when you found this at that thrift store, what did you pay for it at the time?

GUEST:
I think I paid $20 for it.

APPRAISER:
Okay. I think you got a pretty good deal. I've seen a lot of Tye of California lamps on the market. This has to be the best example I've ever seen.

GUEST:
Really? Wow.

APPRAISER:
And by far the most interesting, the most decorative, the most aesthetically appealing. And if I were to advise you...

GUEST:
Uh-huh?

APPRAISER:
...on an insurance value, I would say you should insure this for $1,200.

GUEST:
Cool. That's great. Well, I'm not selling it.

APPRAISER:
It's a great thing.

GUEST:
I promised it to my daughter, so it's staying in the family.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Jason Preston Art Advisory & Appraisals
Los Angeles, CA
Appraised value (2014)
$1,200 Insurance
Event
Albuquerque, NM (July 19, 2014)
Form
Lamp
Material
Ceramic

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