With their purchase of a small Daffodil lamp in 1935, Dr. Egon Neustadt and his wife Hildegard launched their pioneering collection of Tiffany lamps, which mushroomed over the next five decades to include more than two hundred examples. The Neustadts were in the vanguard, buying at a time when most Americans disdained Tiffany lamps as fussy and overly elaborate. Dr. Neustadt’s publication The Lamps of Tiffany (1970) broke ground as the first study to categorize the plethora of lamps produced by Tiffany Studios and also helped inspire a new generation of collectors. Hofer will examine the couple’s collecting and its legacies, both positive and problematic, including highlights of the Neustadt collection at the New-York Historical Society and alterations to shades and bases made by Dr. Neustadt. In addition, she will discuss the Historical Society’s dazzling new 3,000-square-foot Tiffany gallery, scheduled to open in late 2016.
Margaret K. Hofer, who joined the New York-Historical Society in 1993, became its vice president and museum director in 2015. Formerly Curator of Decorative Arts, she has stewarded one of the world’s largest collections of Tiffany lamps. Her publications include Making It Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman (2015); Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York (2011); and A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls (2007, with Martin Eidelberg and Nina Gray). She received her B.A. from Yale University and M.A. from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in Early American Culture.