In 1970, Dr. Egon Neustadt published his collection in
. Dr. Neustadt, an orthodontist who was born in Vienna, began collecting Tiffany lamps with his wife, Hildegard, in 1935. Neustadt noted that when he brought his first lamp home and placed it on his desk, “Our friends didn’t like it.” Undaunted, Neustadt’s interest in the leaded glass shades and bases became all-consuming, making him the earliest serious enthusiast of Tiffany lamps, assembling an encyclopedic collection. Beginning approximately twenty years ahead of other major Tiffany lamp collectors, including Walter Chrysler, Jr., Lillian Nasseau, and Hank Helfand, he brought credibility to the field.
Jeannette Genius McKean (1909- 1989) founded the Morse Museum of American Art as the Morse Gallery of Art on the Rollins College campus, naming it in honor her industrialist grand- father who retired from Chicago to make Winter Park his final home.
As a child, she visited Winter Park and had fond memories of her grandfather and Osceola Lodge on Lake Osceola, the craftsman-style home he remodeled. It stands today a few blocks from the Morse Museum exactly as it was when she visited in the early 1900s.
Jeannette McKean grew up in the gracious Kenwood section of Chicago in the Richardson Romanesque-style mansion her grandfather had built and later gave to her parents as a wedding gift. The home was richly detailed with stained-glass windows and carved mahogany cabinetry, and her artistic mother, Elizabeth Morse Genius, bought American Impressionist paintings, many of which are in the Morse collection today, to hang on the walls. As with many wealthy families of the period, the Geniuses also collected Tiffany glass.
In 1942 she founded the Morse Gallery on campus and named Hugh F. Mc- Kean, then a Rollins art professor, as its director. In 1945, Hugh and Jeann- ette were married.
Thirteen years after she founded the Morse Gallery, Jeannette McKean staged an exhibition, "Works of Art by Louis Comfort Tiffany," that was the first serious showing of Tiffany work since the turn of the century. For decades Tiffany's work had fallen from favor, but Jeannette McKean, remembering the satiny, iridescent glass in her family home, still thought his work exceptionally elegant.
In 1957 when the McKeans received word from one of Tiffany's twin daughters that his estate, Laurelton Hall, had burned, it was Jeannette McKean who made the decision to rescue the Tiffany 'treasures' then considered not worth saving. Her husband remembered her exact words at the scene of the devastation: "Let's buy everything that is left and try to save it." With that decision she created the nucleus of a collection that would grow into the most comprehensive collection of the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany in the world. 3
whether it was the flood of interest in getting something for nothing that collectors brought to news of tiffany's death, or a passion more in depth or earnest than that that was catalyst for a revival, or whether it was merely generational change, in which the generation that loved it begat the generation that hated it begat... etc. as a culture that enjoys assigning reasons, art historians (like everyone else) will guess and quarrel and surmise, and all that's really left for us to do is to sit back and thoroughly enjoy.