Chai Lee of the Art Institute has sent us this picture of one of the museum's most recent acquistions, created in the New York studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany - a circa 1906 Hanging Head Dragonfly Lamp on Mosaic and Turtleback-Tile Base. The fringe of the stained glass shade is a row of dragonflies with "intricate, web-like wings and luminescent eyes made of bulbous blue-green glass."
The lamp is the work of Tiffany designer Clara Driscoll, who "by 1904 had become one of the highest paid women in the United States", earning a $10,000 annual salary at a time when a shop foreman was making $21.00 a week. This photo of Driscoll working in her studio comes from an excellent profile of her remarkable career on the New York Historical Society website.
The Dragonfly was not exactly rare - it was a huge popular hit - but the Art Institute says of its own new acquistion that "Although these objects are readily found on the market, an example of this type and quality with a distinguished provenance is extremely rare."
The lamp is on display in the Museum's Gallery 171, at the back of the first level of the Rice Building.