Early 20th-Century Tiffany Studios Stained Glass Panels

Value (2003) | $35,000 Auction$45,000 Auction

GUEST:
Back around the turn of the century, Marshall Field's put in a men's grill restaurant, and Mrs. Field was in charge of decorating it, and she contracted with Tiffany to put in a ceiling. Then about 1948, Field's remodeled the restaurant. Well, a friend of my in-laws was a carpenter on this job and he asked if he could take some of the glass. Then in 1968 he asked us if we wanted this glass.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
But he said with the condition that we do not destroy it, and he gave us the history. Then about three years ago I was going through Field's and they had a display, including that picture of the old men's grill.

APPRAISER:
You've brought a great piece of Chicago history and you also brought a wonderful example of stained glass that was produced by the Tiffany Studios. What's terrific is that in some way, part of this ceiling has survived. I have seen photographs in books about the period and I have seen pictures of the Marshall Field's grill room. Recently, I came across a watercolor rendering which was a proposal for this fountain that is right in the middle of the grill room, and now it's as though pieces of the puzzle are being put together, because now we have this panel. Now, how many panels do you have?

GUEST:
We have four roundels.

APPRAISER:
Right.

GUEST:
We have two... two and a half of the large panel and we have this one that we put up in back of our bar.

APPRAISER:
Well, if we look closely at the picture, you can see, right over there is one of the roundels-- well, actually, many of the roundels, because they surrounded this big, elliptical piece of glass here. And then that piece right there is one of these rectangular, vertical panels, and then this piece is one of the pieces that goes along the edge. Now, the Great Fire happened in 1871, and after the Great Fire, it was time to rebuild the city.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And Chicago was very fortunate because a lot of European stained glass artists came over to the country at this point. There were over 50 firms that specialized in stained glass, but in this case, Tiffany was commissioned to do the work here, because he really was the most famous at the time for stained glass. And what really surprised me when I saw this is that I'm looking at the style and I thought, you know, this looks as though it were Tiffany from the 1880s. But then I started to think about it more and I realized that he was trying to adapt to the style of the great Chicago glass makers and architecture, and it has more of a Prairie-style feel. It's hard to put a value on something like this, because it has great historical importance. But my feeling is that if the other panels are in the condition as yours is, although there are some cracks in it, I would estimate the total value of this collection at $35,000 to $45,000.

GUEST:
Thank you.

APPRAISER:
Well, thank you for coming. It's just... it's just wonderful to see.

GUEST:
Oh, thank you very much.

APPRAISER:
I really wanted to see some great stained glass in Chicago, and you brought it.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lillian Nassau LLC
New York, NY
Appraised value (2003)
$35,000 Auction$45,000 Auction
Event
Chicago, IL (July 26, 2003)
Period
20th Century
Material
Stained Glass

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