2013 HUGH F. MCKEAN PUBLIC LECTURE
Tiedtke Concert Hall, Rollins College, Winter Park
Having followed the market for the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933) for almost 35 years, Sulka has seen a growing interest among collectors for works from Tiffany Studios. Today the work of this influential artist, which fell victim to the whims of popular taste for a generation, is approaching the popularity it enjoyed during his lifetime. While visitors flock to museum exhibitions of Tiffany’s stunning art glass, Sulka notes that collectors vie for Tiffany works that now may be valued from tens of thousands of dollars to millions or more.
Since the revival of interest in Tiffany began in the 1950s, works by Tiffany Studios have steadily appreciated as collectors have become increasingly sophisticated, and as more detailed information has been revealed by Tiffany scholars, Sulka says. During her talk, Sulka will compare values from when the objects were first offered for sale by Tiffany Studios to their present day values, tracing increases over the past five decades and describing how great Tiffany collections are being formed today.
A recognized specialist and dealer in late 19th- and early 20th-century decorative art, Sulka is a devotee of the work of Tiffany and his Tiffany Studios, particularly the designer’s lamps, blown glass, windows, and ceramics. Since 1998, Sulka has appeared as an appraiser on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow.
Sulka, a graduate of Smith College, was recruited by Lillian Nassau in 1980 and accompanied the celebrated dealer to numerous museums and gallery openings, auction exhibition previews and sales, and visits to private clients’ homes. Sulka took over Lillian Nassau gallery in 2006 and has since mounted a number of exhibitions on Tiffany Studios and its production. She has researched and negotiated the acquisition of thousands of objects offered to her gallery and has authenticated and appraised objects for private clients and various museums. The gallery has also recently published two books about Tiffany art glass and pottery by Tiffany scholar Martin Eidelberg, Professor Emeritus of Art History, Rutgers University.
Sulka lectures in museums around the country, has published articles, has been a part-time lecturer in New York University’s Continuing Education Appraisal Studies Program, and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Antiques and Art Dealers Association of America Inc.
The Morse initiated its Public Lecture in 2004 to bring speakers to the community whose specialty in art holds relatively broad public interest. These special presentations of the Morse honor Hugh F. McKean’s career as an educator, his love for art, and his vision for enriching the community through the Museum with a knowledge and appreciation of art. McKean was president of Rollins College from 1951 to 1969 and the Museum’s director until his death in 1995.