The Duffner & Kimberly Dragon - Gazo Foudji

Gazo Foudji (1853 - 1916)

Some details of Gazo Foudji were kindly sent to me by David Boroff. He has been researching Foudji for some time and discovered that one of his works, a bed quilt featuring a Dragon, was uncannily similar to the one on Duffner and Kimberly’s dragon table lamp. It is with great thanks that I use much of the information that David furnished here in a summary form and look forward to seeing more results of his ongoing Foudji research. For those interested in researching further, be aware that his name appeared with a host of different spellings throughout his life.

In lamp circles, Foudji’s name first appeared in Mosaic Shades Vol 2 as part of the Duffner introduction.

With the probable authoring of the Dragon design, there is also a possibility he worked on the 1906 color catalogue illustrations, all exquisitely illustrated and painted.

However, Foudji’s first meeting with Frank Duffner was at Phoenix Glass Co. in Monaca, PA. This was in the 1896-1901 time period when Foudji was decorating lamps for the Vollenden Ware line. He spent a couple of years in Paris, returning in summer of 1903. Soon after arriving, he started on the illustrations for the book, "The Love of Azalea" by Onoto Watanna , 1904.

There were six color plates and nearly 50 pages in relief, plus the outside cover. He then went to Zanesville, Ohio and started at Weller and Roseville designing the Fujiyama line of pottery in 1905. In May of that year, Foudji's wife and two adopted sons arrived from France.

A second assignment with Frank Duffner occurs, this time in May of 1906. Foudji is hired as head designer at Duffner and Kimberly. Foudji, now a well known and respected artist appears to have been a big influence upon the designs of lamps. The Dragon design was one, but perhaps there were several others that he produced in the early days of the company. The Dragon is certainly the most obviously aligned with his previous examples. The first appearing on an oil lamp at Phoenix and later on the bed quilt published in the Ladies Home Journal magazine of May 1905.

Foudji’s obituary in January of 1917 mentions that he also had worked at Tiffany Studios. Exactly when he was there has yet to be discovered. This was likely after his Duffner & Kimberly employment but before his engagement at Jefferson Glass Co. in West Virginia.

Prior to his death, Foudji became chief of the decorating staff at the Follansbee plant and instrumental in bringing together between 15 and 20 Japanese artists who made Follansbee their home. Ancestry research revealed that Foudji was survived by 2 sons, adopted French Nationals, Gilbert James Stenger Fudji, and George Emanuel Stenger Fudji. Both became U.S. citizens but eventually returned to France. Currently we are unable to find any of their descendants.

There are at least 4 known examples of the Duffner & Kimberly Dragon lamp. All examples have appeared on the fluted base bringing the height of each lamp to around 26". There are subtle differences between each of them of course, but the 22" dragon remains one of Duffner & Kimberly's most sought after and complex lamps.

Example 1

Featured in Mosaic Shades Volume 2 by Paul Crist. Thought to have originally surfaced in New York City and subseqently became part of a private collection in Toronto, Canada. Later to private collections in the United States.

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Example 2

This example is part of a long standing collection in Florida.

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Example 3

This example came to light after appearing in Tucson, Arizona on an edition of the PBS Antiques Roadshow. The lamp then became part of private collections in Florida and Arizona.

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Example 4

Purchased in a Florida antique shop in the 1950s, this example recently became part of a private collection.

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