Austrian immigrants Dr. Egon Neustadt and his wife Hildegard were among the earliest collectors of works by famed American artist Louis C. Tiffany (1848-1933) and they played a critical role in reviving interest in Tiffany’s lamps in the mid-twentieth century. In 1935, newly married and living in Flushing, Queens, the Neustadts purchased their first Tiffany lamp – a small Daffodil – from a secondhand shop in Greenwich Village.
Tiffany’s work was decidedly unfashionable at this time; indeed, Louis C. Tiffany died in 1933 and his Tiffany Studios would declare bankruptcy in 1937. But the Neustadts, undeterred by the current disinterest in Tiffany lamps, were struck by the beauty of the colorful glass and enchanted that the shade had been made by an artist from the beloved country they now called home. Over the course of the next fifty years, their collection grew to include more than 200 lamps of all shapes, sizes, and designs. It remains today the largest and most comprehensive lamp collection ever assembled.
A Passion for Tiffany Lamps highlights the extraordinary scope of the Neustadts’ collection. Examples of Tiffany’s most iconic lamps – the Wisteria and Dragonfly – will be on view, along with unusual lamps produced in limited number, such as the Pond Lily globe and Peacock hanging shade.
In 1995, The Neustadt partnered with the Queens Museum to share its collection with the New York metropolitan area through a permanent Tiffany gallery and educational programming. This partnership has special significance because Tiffany’s glass furnace, bronze foundry, and workshops were located in Corona, Queens, less than two miles from the Museum.