Fontaine’s to present free lamp seminar, appraisal March 21

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is offering a free seminar and appraisal on the lamps of Tiffany and other 20th-century lighting to be held Sunday, Mar. 21, in the firm’s gallery facility, located at 1485 S. Housatonic St.

Fontaine’s has been the scene of numerous auctions that featured rare and vintage lamps and lighting fixtures.

Guest speaker for the event will be Paul Crist of Paul Crist Studios, an expert in Tiffany lamps and the author of the book Mosaic Shades Volume II. An informative seminar by Crist will begin at 10 a.m., with a question-and-answer session to follow. Crist specializes in Tiffany examples and has more than 30 years of experience in mosaic shades – copper foiled and leaded.

Teaming with Crist will be John Fontaine of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, himself an expert in the field of lamps and vintage lighting and co-author of the book The Handel Lamps Book. Fontaine invites attendees to bring their lamps to the seminar for a free evaluation and authentication. A certificate documenting a vintage lamp’s authenticity may also be purchased.

“If you have one piece or an entire collection, we are here for you,” said Fontaine. “We suggest calling ahead, to reserve a time slot in the morning or afternoon.” Fontaine added his firm will host a Spring Exceptional Antiques Auction on May 22, at which a session will be devoted entirely to fine lighting from estates and collections from around the country.

“We are offering a zero percent sellers’ commission on high-end lighting and antiques,” said Fontaine. “It will cost consignors nothing to sell their Tiffany and other high-end lighting at one of the top galleries for 20th-century arts and lighting in the country.” Fontaine’s implemented the zero percent commission policy at the end of last year.

Crist is a nationally renowned and leading expert. He is said to be the “last stop” for authenticating and lighting evaluation. Crist’s exhaustive research and documentation, spanning more than three decades, prompted him to produce the three-volume Mosaic Shades series, which is used as a learning tool by collectors.

His first publication, Mosaic Shade Volume II, is packed with knowledge and photos of the many copper-foiled shade makers apart from Tiffany, to include Duffner & Kimberly, Chicago Mosaic, Wilkinson, John Morgan, Unique Glass Co. and more. Volume II serves a dual purpose: It is a handsome coffee-table book, and it is a go-to reference for the researcher.

Fontaine was born into the world of auctions and antiques. He has been in the business for 40 years, both as an auctioneer and researcher. His knowledge extends to renowned furniture makers like J.H. Belter, J. & J.W. Meeks, R.J. Horner, Herter Brothers, Alexander Roux, Gustav Stickley and Charles Rohlfs.

But Fontaine’s passion for lighting is uncharted. His driving ambition assisted him well in the preparation and writing of The Handel Lamps Book. Documenting and photographing the treasures of Philip Handel, he was able to produce a definitive reference work on Handel lamps.

Fontaine has embraced the world of 20th-century lighting fully. Included in his repertoire is knowledge of other reverse painted lamp makers such as Moe Bridges, Pittsburgh, Jefferson and Pairpoint, as well as leaded/copper-foiled lamp makers like Tiffany, Duffner & Kimberly, Chicago Mosaic, Wilkinson, John Morgan, Unique Glass Company and many others.

Preceding the March 21 seminar event will be an Antique Discovery Estate Auction, slated for Saturday, March 20, beginning at 10 a.m., also at the Fontaine’s gallery. The May 22 event will be a cataloged auction, featuring antique furniture, lighting, mission, and antique clocks and watches. The zero percent consignors’ commission for high-quality items applies.

For details call (413) 448-8922, send an e-mail to Fontaine at or visit the Web site at


John Fontaine and Paul Crist, who will both speak at the seminar, authored these lamp books. Image courtesy of Fontaine's Auction Gallery.

John Fontaine and Paul Crist, who will both speak at the seminar, authored these lamp books. Image courtesy of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery.