December 01 2013 Sunday at 12:36 PM

Auction: Jaw-Dropping Tiffany Bat Lamp at Sotheby's

I have ogled more than a few Tiffany lamps (some fine examples at the Huntington Library) but I have never heard/seen tale of the bat lamps. Tiffany lamps are one of those objects that you just have to see in person. There are so many jillion generic pizza restaurant versions that it is difficult to grasp how beautiful the real ones are until you see one illuminated in person. Each handblown panel looks very chunky, very handmade. 

Reading the Sotheby's, Christie's and Bonham's catalog is a such a wonderful free endeavor, especially on the tablet. There are often little articles embedded in the free PDF catalogs about the objects or provenance to educate customers - and build their confidence to bid high, often and decisively. For example, in the Sotheby's Tiffany catalog I learned that bats were not used in decorative arts before the turn of the century as they were emblematic of night and, by extension, death.  It was only after 1900 and the influence of Japanese art that the brought the bat into decorative arts. Bats are considered lucky in Japan and would frequently appear in Japanese art.

Bat Lamp at Sotheby's, no affiliation, estimate $550,000 - $750,000 (!)