Antique dealer Lillian Nassau rekindled the public’s enthusiasm for art deco and art nouveau at a time when Tiffany lamps were being destroyed for their bronze. Nassau studied journalism at Columbia University, but gave up any thought of a career when she married in 1920. When she divorced in the late 1930s, at the height of the Depression, she supported her two children by selling jewelry door to door on Long Island. She opened her first Manhattan shop in 1945, specializing in antiques from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In 1956 she bought her first Tiffany lamp for $175 and began creating interest among buyers for art nouveau pieces ranging from Liberty silver to American decorative pottery. Her discernment not only made her shop a major hub for collectors, it also revived interest in European artists like René Lalique, Georg Jensen, Emile Gallé, Josef Hoffman, Louis Majorelle, and Carlo Bugatti. Although she retired at age eighty-three, leaving her gallery to her surviving son, she continued working as a consultant until her death.
More on Lillian Nassau
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Lillian Nassau." (Viewed on July 16, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/nassau-lillian>.