The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass was founded by Dr. Egon Neustadt (1898-1984) and his wife Hildegard (1911-1961), Austrian immigrants who amassed an unparalleled collection of Tiffany lamps over the course of fifty years.
The Neustadts bought their first Tiffany lamp from a second-hand shop in Greenwich Village in 1935 when Louis C. Tiffany’s designs were out of fashion and at odds with popular tastes. Newly married, they were decorating their home in Flushing, Queens, and were searching for furniture. Egon recalled that while he measured dining room tables, Hildegard excitedly admired an old stained-glass daffodil lampshade, “which gave a fascinating effect of real flowers growing in a real garden.” Their budget was limited, however, and the Neustadts had to leave the shade behind. But Hildegard eventually convinced Egon to return to the shop for a second look. Enamored of all things American, they were delighted to learn that the beautiful daffodil lampshade was made in the country they now proudly called home. They purchased the lamp for $12.50.
As Dr. Neustadt’s professional career as an orthodontist and real estate developer flourished, he and Hildegard acquired additional Tiffany lamps in all shapes, sizes and patterns, as well as leaded-glass windows and bronze desk sets. In 1967, Egon had the foresight to purchase a treasure trove of opalescent sheet glass and pressed-glass “jewels” left over when the Tiffany Studios closed in the late 1930s. A few years later, he published The Lamps of Tiffany, a lavishly illustrated and indispensable guide documenting this glass and the range of lamp designs made at the Tiffany Studios.
Egon and Hildegard Neustadt left an enduring legacy. Their collection lends valuable insight into Tiffany’s innovative artistic contributions to the field of stained glass in America.