The Eye Lamp joined Nicola’s ongoing series of body-furnishings—vinyl foot-sofas; a woman-shaped cabinet. “I refused to create sculptures that were not going to be used for something,” she explained of the pieces, likely made with help from her husband, Fred Lanzenberg, who worked for his famous decorator uncle, Henri Samuel. “I did not want to make decor.”
The Eyes were dispatched to domestic spaces around the world, many of them pictured in Nicola L.: Life and Art, published this year by Apartamento (full disclosure: This writer is one of its coauthors). One lit Nicola’s home in Brussels, a pair punctuated the Paris pad of politician Michel Maurice-Bokanowski, and a blue Eye paid for one of Nicola’s stays at New York’s Chelsea Hotel (it was reportedly stolen from the lobby the first night). In the ’80s, when she moved to the Chelsea full-time, a green Eye came along.
“It has a surreal, even haunting, presence,” says AD100 designer Adam Charlap Hyman of the fixture, the first piece of art he ever bought. He’s since used them in several projects. That’s no easy feat: The Eyes are scarce. They come up occasionally at auction (one went for $15,000 at Wright in 2021) or at Alison Jacques in London, which represents Nicola’s estate. Gallery owner Patrick Parrish, who sold Nicola’s works on consignment in the early 2000s, now lives with an Eye in his Manhattan home, reporting: “It kinda checks you out as you walk into the room.” alisonjacques.com