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Floor Lamp

Decorative Arts

On View: American Identities: A New Look, Expanding Horizons, 5th Floor

The designer of this rare and exotic kerosene lamp, Pierre Emmanuel Guerin, was one of the most important manufacturers of finely wrought metal furniture mounts for the most prestigious cabinetmakers of the nineteenth century: Herter Brothers, Pottier & Stymus, Léon Marcotte, and Kimbel & Cabus. The foundry, still family owned, is on Jane Street in Greenwich Village. By 1880, in an attempt to diversify his business, Guerin had begun to design and manufacture "artistic bronzes" and brass goods such as vases, clock cases, and lamps. The shaft of the lamp is a highly imaginative, menacing, eagle-like bird with an out-of-scale claw as the base. The sophistIcated design evoking ancient mythology is characteristIc of fantastical objects made in the Aesthetic Movement style of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The jewel-like colored shade and the highly polished brass of the lamp would have had a striking effect when illuminated in a densely furnished and patterned parlor of the period.

MEDIUM Brass, glass, iron
  • Place Manufactured: New York, New York, United States
  • DATES Patented April 13, 1886
    DIMENSIONS 51 1/4 x 11 x 13 in. (130.2 x 27.9 x 33 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Molded on burner knobs: "P / DUPLEX / A" Impressed on proper left underside of thumb-talon of bird's foot: "PATENT / APRIL 13, 1886" Impressed on side of proper right talon: "PAT.APPLIED.FOR." Impressed on underside of base: "P.E.GUERIN" at tips of two talons; "P.E.GUERIN / NY" twice between claws. On metal plate affixed to under side of base, impressed: "P.E.G." and "537"
    COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Expanding Horizons, 5th Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 2004.32a-c
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Clifford D. Mallory in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Rogers Mallory, by exchange
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Pierre Emmanuel Guerin (American, born France, 1833-1911). Floor Lamp, Patented April 13, 1886. Brass, glass, iron, 51 1/4 x 11 x 13 in. (130.2 x 27.9 x 33 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Clifford D. Mallory in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Rogers Mallory, by exchange, 2004.32a-c. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 2004.32a-c_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Brass floor lamp with glass kerosene reservoir, shade, and chimney. (a) Lamp stand is in the form of a stylized bird of prey standing on a single elongated, scaly leg; an oversized foot with talons forms the base. Attached to the bird's crown is a squat, spherical kerosene reservoir of amber hobnail glass. A circular coronet-style burner screws into the neck ring of the reservoir. (b) Blue hobnail glass shade sits atop the stand; bowl-shaped form flares out to scalloped rim. (c) Colorless glass baluster-shaped chimney fits into cylindrical holder around burner and within blue shade.
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