Egon and Hildegard Neustadt, Austrian immigrants who began collecting Tiffany glass lamps in 1935 to decorate their Flushing home, have amassed the largest collection of the rare pieces, and Queens residents can now see them in Long Island City.
The couple amassed hundreds of lamps, leaded-glass windows and bronze desk sets from 1935 to 1984 when Egon Hildegard died. The Queens Museum displays a portion of the collection, including glass jewels that Neustadt bought when the Tiffany studio closed in the 1930s.
In 1969, Egon Neustadt founded the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass and his collection has been shared with the Corning Museum of Glass and other institutions. A piece of the couple’s collection is also stored in a warehouse in Long Island City and Open House New York (OHNY) is giving people access to the space on Oct. 14 and 15.
OHNY gives New Yorkers access to the city’s most impressive architectural spaces. The Long Island City warehouse, which houses the nonprofit Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass at 5-26 46th Ave., holds the couple’s archive of more than a quarter of a million pieces of Tiffany sheet glass.
Louis C. Tiffany, the son of Charles Tiffany who founded Tiffany & Co., created much of the pieces that the Neustadt’s collected in a glasshouse in Corona. He opened the factory in the 1890s and revolutionized the look of stained glass. Tiffany was able to create opalescent glass, “a unique American phenomenon that featured a milky, opaque, and sometimes rainbow-hued appearance with the introduction of light,” according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Neustadt’s collection started with a stained-glass daffodil lampshade that they found in a thrift store for $12.50. Hildegard Neustadt convinced her husband to purchase the lamp and the collection grew from there.
For more information on the collection, visit the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glasswebsite.