Gazo Foudji and The Duffner & Kimberly Dragon

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.

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

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.

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 he 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.

Example 1

22" diameter leaded lamp by Duffner, 1 of several known examples. The story of how it surfaced.

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Example 2

A second known example. Images of a third example, with yellow eyes can be found on page 184 of Mosaic Shades Volume 2.

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