The following information was submitted in July of 2006 by Michael Reed:
Paul Farnham was born George Paulding Farnham on November 6, 1859 in New York City. He began an apprenticeship at Tiffany and Co. under the supervision of his maternal uncle, Charles T. Cook. His creative and inspired designs soon began to bring notoriety to the firm and he was eventually named head of the jewelry (1891) and silver departments (1899). Some of his best known works are the Adams Vase (1893), the Belmont Stakes Trophy (1896) and the Admiral Dewey sword (1898).
During this time period, Farnham was also known as an accomplished sculptor. He became a member of the National Sculpture Society in 1895 and was noted for his bust of Charles L. Tiffany, a plaster Phoenecia and the Wind and Psyche. Sadly, most of these works are not accounted for today.
On December 31, 1896 Farnham married Sally James of Ogdensburg, NY. She was to become a sculptor of great note, best known for her monument of Simon Bolivar(1921) in Central Park. The family lived at their estate, Stepping Stones, in Great Neck, NY. His entries for Tiffany at the Paris Exposition in 1900 won him two gold medals and the firm the grand prize for jewelry.
His career at Tiffany and Co. came to a sudden end in 1908 when he resigned from his position due to creative differences with the firm’s new President, Louis C. Tiffany. For the next few years he shared a studio with is wife in New York. He soon tired of this and traveled West to explore mining prospects in Nevada, California and British Columbia draining the family’s fiancé and patience. Sally James Farnham was granted a divorce from Paulding on August 2, 1915.
Farnham shortened his professional name to Paul and settled in Oakland, California. From this period on, he never spoke of his time at Tiffany, turning his back almost completely on his past. He began work on a series of paintings based on a historical marine series titled Ancient Ships of the Merchant Marine that Opened the Commerce of the World. He first exhibited the works at the Hotel Oakland in 1920 then traveled in 1924 when they were shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (April 1-22), the Baltimore Museum of Art (April 24-May 5) and the Vose Gallery in Boston (May 10-24).
Paulding Farnham died on August 10, 1927 at the Agnew State Hospital in Santa Clara County, California.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Art Gallery at the University of Pittsburgh
United States Naval Academy Museum
High Museum of Art
Paulding Farnham: Tiffany’s Lost Genius by John Loring, Harry N. Abrahms, Inc., NY, 2000.
Zapata, Janet, “The Rediscovery of Paulding Farnham, Tiffany’s Designer Extraordinaire” Part I and II, The Magazine Antiques, 139, no. 3 and 4 (March and April 1999), 556-567 and 719-729.