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Is this Desk Lamp Authentic?
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3418
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the horizontal fixture was photographed at Fallingwater.
Scroll down through this link to see some pics with the desk lamps in context:
http://thecoincidentaldandy.blogspot.com/2011/02/built-wright-fallingwater-frank-lloyd.html
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5724
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roderick Grant wrote:
Who owes whom what? That Poul Henningsen lamp is very much like Aalto's work ... or is it the other way around?


Aalto's lamps incorporating similar shades were designed a quarter of a century later, around 1950. This is not to take away anything from Aalto's contribution to lighting design. All of his lamps are fantastic. The Scandinavian designers (out of necessity!) gave lighting much thought:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-U8fLCzYJjSg/UOXQqpCeU8I/AAAAAAAAAhQ/sOTM8xNUHdk/s1600/aalto-lighting.jpg
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Matt



Joined: 25 Nov 2009
Posts: 361

PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I looked at the Wright Auction stuff with interest. Someone from there responded to photos of my mystery lamp with the judgement that it was something more modern and not vintage. Yet some folks from the FLW Foundation said it looked vintage. Of course, determining the provenance will be a bit of a challenge.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8212

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Matt, unless you're looking to cash in, what difference does it make? Light the light and read a book. Enjoy.
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Matt



Joined: 25 Nov 2009
Posts: 361

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because knowledge is power.
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SpringGreen



Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 501

PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:56 pm    Post subject: Knowledge is power Reply with quote

Well, Matt, now that just makes me have a crush on you. Srsly.

I'll go looking for the perfect Cherokee Red paint shade just for you.
_________________
"The building as architecture is born out of the heart of man, permanent consort to the ground, comrade to the trees, true reflection of man in the realm of his own spirit." FLLW, "Two Lectures in Architecture: in the Realm of Ideas".
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Matt



Joined: 25 Nov 2009
Posts: 361

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been enjoying my lamp, but would like to pin down it's origin. Is there anyplace that authenticates Wright furnishings? Does the Foundation do this? I've corresponded with them and they say it looks like a lamp from the pre-reproduction era…but not more than that.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15570
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may have to accept that your lamp is . . . what it is, without any confirmation of place or date of origin.

This is because, lacking any label, any photograph of your particular lamp in a known setting, any identifiable signs of workmanship or material that would define it narrowly, the lamp is an orphan in the world. It can't speak, to tell us where it's been -- like so many other hand-made objects.

The particulars of Wrightian furnishings -- those made to Wright's designs, perhaps at Taliesin or, more frequently, at or near the site of a particular Wright structure -- are especially difficult to pin down. Few furniture makers take the trouble to label their work, with name and date, for the use of later owners and historians, and this seems especially to be true of Wright-designed pieces.

Moreover, the Taliesin or pyramid table lamp was made by many different hands, over time, both at Taliesin and elsewhere. Recent production, offered for sale online or at retail locations, would most likely be labeled. Not so the many older examples like yours, whether made at Taliesin or by an anonymous craftsman anywhere in the world.

It might be possible to eliminate some possibilities by identifying the material used in the shade, to see if such material was ever found on lamps made at Taliesin -- for instance. But that wouldn't necessarily tell you where it was made.

I don't mean to discourage your search -- but I thought it only kind to say that it may well be an unrewarded one.

Best of luck -- SDR
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Matt



Joined: 25 Nov 2009
Posts: 361

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks SDR. Yes, an orphan indeed, but a very pleasant one.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15570
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely. The photo or photos of your lamp has/have disappeared from page one of this discussion, but I recall something of its particular traits. The wire (cord ?) shade suspension found on many lamps has always seemed an unresolved issue to me, along with the stressed joint at the rear bottom of the lamp. It occurred to me the other day that the lamp looks like something designed to be cast in metal -- bronze, preferably. But, again -- it is what it is, a unique object in Wright's portfolio, the only "homely" (in the former, positive sense) table lamp available for use in one of his residential interiors. (I would be happy to see it only in that circumstance; it is part and parcel of a Wright home, not "at home" in any other setting as I see it. But then, many a treasure is to be found in humble surroundings, I suppose.)

SDR
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Matt



Joined: 25 Nov 2009
Posts: 361

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose then there is no organization that authenticates any Wright furniture unless it can be traced to the house it was designed for. Part of my research it to make a list of all homes equipped with such lamps, either in their drawings or just added by request. That includes any evidence that such lamps were part of an Imperial Hotel re-decoration. Part of this is curiosity and part is money. One auction house estimated that if the lamp was "authentic" it could bring $10-15K (but I have found no auction history of any such lamps).
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15570
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the case of this lamp design, the only examples which could be described as "authentic" would be ones known to have been made for specific houses, at or shortly after (I would argue) the time of original construction -- or known to have been made at Taliesin or by an apprentice, with provenance to prove the source. All others are copies or reproductions, made with or without the approval of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Such lamps -- like any other random furniture object -- are worth what a buyer will pay. Many objects are sold with bogus claims or suggestions of authenticity; we see these every month on Antiques Roadshow (for instance).

I wouldn't count on that in your case; I suggest that any Imperial Hotel connection is spurious or apocryphal -- as in, imagined or made up. (A photograph of an Imperial interior with such a lamp would be an interesting discovery, if not a proof that you lamp was there.) I'm glad you're enjoying the ownership of your example.

SDR
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3418
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moving this thread to post outage status. I believe this is the thread in which the design and its iterations were discussed.
Keywords: Taliesin, table lamp, shade,
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15570
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Carla Lind mentions the Imperial Hotel commission in passing -- but only as a possible source of local inspiration. There is no other connection between the table lamp and the Imperial; I don't know why that suggestion, coming from the vendor of Matt's lamp, was taken with any seriousness, from the beginning.




At the Imperial, for what it's worth, we find these fixtures and lamps:













Image © steinrag


This bedroom fixture seems an obvious precursor to the Hollyhock living-room pieces . . .


SDR
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Matt



Joined: 25 Nov 2009
Posts: 361

PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, someone found the old thread. Great.

The Imperial Hotel connection interests me as the antique dealer I bought the lamp from said he bought it from someone who said it came from Japan. I didn't find any connection and assumed it was just a mistaken origin, perhaps based on the asian look of the lamp. Of course, there was a remodel of the Imprerial Hotel, but I haven't located any pictures to see if the lamp was part of that remodel...or if the wood has a Japanese origin. And it doesn't explain the very old light bulb socket.
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