For over seventy-five years Lillian Nassau LLC has specialized in the work of Tiffany Studios and Louis Comfort Tiffany, including Tiffany Lamps, Favrile Glass and Pottery, Mosaics, Windows, Metalwork and more. The gallery also handles the finest late 19th and 20th century Decorative Art, Design and Sculpture from the United States and Europe.
Established in 1945 by Lillian Nassau, who is credited with single-handedly reviving interest in Tiffany Studios, the gallery has a long history of placing museum-quality works in major private collections as well as public institutions, and has underwritten and loaned important pieces to several major museum exhibitions on Tiffany Studios and Louis C. Tiffany. Lillian Nassau LLC is also a member of The National Antique and Art Dealers Association of America, an exclusive non-profit trade organization of the United States’ leading dealers who are recognized authorities in their various fields.
Lillian Nassau LLC continues to dominate the field with its expertise and scholarship in Tiffany Studios. In 2007, the gallery collaborated with eminent Tiffany scholar Dr. Martin Eidelberg on the seminal publication “Tiffany Favrile Glass and the Quest of Beauty,” which remains an invaluable resource for Tiffany collectors and enthusiasts, followed by the publication of “Tiffany Favrile Pottery and the Quest of Beauty” in 2010. The gallery maintains a long-standing reputation as a destination for Tiffany collectors, museum curators and scholars, and continues to offer some of the finest examples produced by Tiffany Studios in addition to extremely rare, unique works which rarely appear on the marketplace.
Current owner Arlie Sulka was hand-picked by Mrs. Nassau to join the gallery in 1980, working closely with Lillian and her son, Paul, for close to thirty years before acquiring the business directly from the Nassau family in 2006. Adding to Lillian Nassau's specialization is Gallery Director Eric Silver, who is well-known for his expertise in American sculpture and Art Nouveau Decorative Arts. Both Arlie Sulka and Eric Silver have appeared as regular appraisers on the hit PBS series Antiques Roadshow since it first aired in the United States over two decades ago.
Lillian Nassau opened her antiques shop in 1945 in New York City on Third Avenue between 54th and 55th streets, specializing in 18th and 19th Century porcelain, glass and objets d'art. In the 1950’s she became increasingly interested in the decorative arts of the Art Nouveau period and was especially fascinated by work of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios. It wasn’t long until her inventory changed and she became recognized as the premier expert in the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios.
Credited with almost single-handedly reviving the interest in the work of Louis C. Tiffany, Mrs. Nassau surrounded herself with trend setting collectors who shared her passion. Among them were Walter Chrysler and Joseph Heil, who gave generously to the Museum of Modern Art, Ed Wormley, the prominent furniture designer, and Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., whose family commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build their legendary home "Falling Water." In retrospect, it is difficult to believe that this now popular era of decorative arts had been forgotten.
Since little had been written about this period, Mrs. Nassau compiled a comprehensive research library that contained primary source material and included contemporary magazines and periodicals, books, auction catalogues and brochures. She shared her library and knowledge with these early collectors and museum curators and it remains an important resource for researchers today.
As a willing lender to early museum exhibitions, Mrs. Nassau encouraged her clients to do the same. Her association with curators paved the way for two early exhibitions of Art Nouveau and Tiffany, the first held at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in 1958 and the second, the seminal show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1960. Upholding that tradition, the gallery has continued to loan to museum exhibitions; recent loans include the Shelburne Museum, New York Historical Society in New York City, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the National Gallery in Washington D.C.
Mrs. Nassau generously donated two masterpieces to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the first, a shimmering Tiffany Studios Favrile Glass Mosaic fountain, is permanently installed in the Engelhardt Sculpture Court of the American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The second was the crown jewel of her private collection: a necklace designed by Art Nouveau master René Lalique for his wife at the turn of the twentieth century.
In 1967 the gallery moved to its present location at 220 East 57 Street. Although Mrs. Nassau was approaching the typical age of retirement, she was building momentum as the driving force behind the revival of the works by Tiffany and the decorative arts of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. Celebrity collectors, including members of the Beatles, as well as Led Zeppelin, Catherine Deneuve, Barbra Streisand, Andy Warhol, and other leading pop culture personalities became clients and seized the opportunity to share in Mrs. Nassau's expertise while major museums throughout the United States and Europe steadily made major acquisitions from the gallery.
With over thirty years of experience working for Mrs. Nassau and her son, Paul, current owner Arlie Sulka is now considered one of the foremost experts on Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios, maintaining the gallery’s world-renowned status. Ms. Sulka has established enduring professional relationships with private clients and regularly advises leading museum curators from around the world.
Under Ms. Sulka’s guidance, the gallery has mounted a series of landmark exhibitions concentrating on the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Tiffany Studios including the lamps, blown glass and mosaics.
In November 2010 the gallery commemorated its 65th anniversary with the seminal exhibition of Tiffany Favrile Pottery, marking the gallery’s second publication written by Dr. Martin Eidelberg, "Tiffany Favrile Pottery and the Quest of Beauty."
In 2020 the gallery celebrated its 75th anniversary.