Even though he is known today for his antique art glass, René Lalique (1860-1945) began his career in 1881 as a freelance jeweler. Lalique’s fascination with three-dimensional decorative objects informed his Art Nouveau vases, perfume bottles, bowls, and decanters, which were typically pressed into molds to create patterns and reliefs of animals, foliage, or both. Later in his career, Lalique also designed stemware, tableware, clocks, and lamps.

Lalique’s contribution to the field of art glass began roughly in 1902, when he established a small glassworks at Clairfontaine outside of Paris. There he made molded glass plaques and decorative panels. He brought a jeweler’s precise eye to his first pieces, which were created using a jewelry casting process called cire perdue, or lost wax.

In cire perdue, a design would be carved by hand into wax, pressed into clay to create a mold, and then melted out (or lost) so that molten glass could be poured in. It was a primitive process, but Lalique made good use of it through the 1920s.

One of Lalique’s earliest clients was François Coty, who commissioned Lalique to design perfume bottles for him. Lalique would eventually design some 16 bottles for Coty, along with a number of other objects and the windows for Coty’s headquarters in New York at 712 Fifth Avenue (you can still see them today). The workload was so great that in 1909, Lalique rented a larger glassworks at Combs-la-Ville east of Paris. In 1910 he purchased that facility outright.

Combs-la-Ville had long attracted glassblowers, thanks to the area’s plentiful supplies of silica-rich sand. Lalique liked the look of the glass it created, and he chose not to add lead to his batches, even though it meant that his products would not be officially labeled as lead crystal. Lalique preferred his demi-crystal because it was inexpensive and easy to work with. Above all, he liked the milky opalescence of the final product.

Lalique collaborated with Coty through the 1930s. During this time, he also designed perfume bottles for other perfume makers, including d’Orsay and Roger et Gallet, for whom Lalique made a bottle crowned by one of his famous tiara stoppers (one of Lalique’s most copied designs). Later, as Lalique’s name became as synonymous with perfume bottles as Coty’s, he would make empty perfume bottles of his own, the Tantot and Amphitrite being but two examples.

World War I halted production at Combs-la-Ville from 1915 to 1919. And then, in the 1920s, Lalique really hit his stride. It was during this period that he produced a number of one-of-a-kind and limited run vases and sculptural objects. Some bore reliefs of pairs of parakeets and lovebirds, a motif he would use throughout his career. Others featured intricate and slightly fearsome wasps...

The Courges vases from this period are unusual if only because they are relatively rare examples that are saturated with color. Even though the vast majority of Lalique’s work from this period was pearly and opalescent, some of these gourds had metal oxides mixed into the glass to turn them blue (cobalt), red (chromium), or yellow (uranium).

By 1921, Lalique had opened a high-volume factory at Wingen-sur-Moder, in Alsace. The goal was to increase production and make Lalique’s work more affordable to the masses. In the 1920s, Lalique designed some 200 vases for production at Wingen. Here press-molding techniques were perfected. Most of the vases had wide necks so that the plunger used to force molten glass into the mold could be easily removed. The result was an exterior with crisp, sharp lines and an interior that was perfectly smooth.

Vases from this period include the ovoid Ronces, which appear to have been woven from a tangle of thorny vines. Some of the Ronces were translucent; others were amber, blue, or red, the latter being a difficult color to work with. Later, the Ronce design was repurposed as a base for a table lamp. Other vases were adorned with fang-bearing snakes or gazelles sitting beneath a canopy of stars. The molded surface of the decorative Languedoc vase was a tight pattern of what look like stylized coleus leaves.

The 1920s were also a decade for figurative vases and vessels. Most depicted women—Naïades consists of a frieze of mermaids holding aloft a shallow bowl—but some such as the Archers and Palèstre vases featured male forms. Lalique’s famous statuettes also leaned heavily to female nudes, as did his illuminated plaques, with Suzanne (a nude with outstretched arms holding a curtain of glass behind her) being perhaps his most famous.

From around 1925 to 1930, Lalique produced about 20 so-called car mascots, which were designed to replace the hood ornaments on luxury automobiles. Today, these heads of horses, peacocks, and roosters are among the most prized antique Laliques available, if you can even find one. Other examples include a goldfish, a wild boar, and a frog.

Lalique accepted a number of other high-profile architectural commissions during the 1920s, including the dining cars on the Orient Express, the Oviatt Building in Los Angeles, the Peace Hotel in Shanghai. As the 1930s arrived, Lalique’s work embraced Art Deco. Now the molding technologies Lalique had been refining seemed especially at home, particularly in a 1935 piece like Souston, an artichoke-shaped vase whose ridges and lines feel downright architectural.

Tableware and glassware also made an appearance in the 1930s. There were glasses and goblets, tumblers with a matching jug, and lots of carafes, each with its own handsome stopper. Plates and bowls sported swirling patterns suggesting sea urchins, anemones, and sand dollars.

Other pieces from the Depression years include lidded boxes of all sorts (both square and round), ashtrays, and clocks, including one timepiece housed within a panel of opalescent glass that has been molded with reliefs of Lalique’s beloved birds.

But this was the Depression, so in 1937 the glassworks at Combs-la-Ville closed. World War II shuttered a second Lalique factory, this time from 1940 to 1945, but Lalique himself stuck around until the Germans surrendered to Allied Forces on May 9, 1945. Two days later, one of the 20th century’s most influential designers would pass away, but his work ensures that he will never be forgotten.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Loetz.com

Loetz.com

This fabulous site is a guide to Bohemian art glass makers from 1885 to 1920. Loetz was the premier Bohemian glass … [read review or visit site]

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Chris and Val Stewart’s impressive attempt to create a complete catalogue of all known cloud glass, a decorative … [read review or visit site]

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

The heart of this website, home of the Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club, is the Identification Project, whe… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

R Lalique Perfume BottleVintage? Lalique Glass Owl Bird Fitted BoxGood Original Art Deco R Lalique Poissons Fish Opalescent Art Glass Bowl$1,200 Baccarat Harcourt Crystal Decanter Neiman Marcus Bergdorf Goodman LaliqueLalique France Heavy Frosted Art Glass Massive Swallow Bird VaseIncredible Pair Original Rene Period R Lalique Colored Art Glass Statue Figures$1,200 Baccarat Harcourt Crystal Decanter Neiman Marcus Bergdorf Goodman LaliqueSigned Lalique France Claude Etched Frosted Art Glass Bud Flower 13.5" Vase TfmVintage Lalique Floride Crystal Art Glass Perfume Bottle 6 1/4" Tall - Signed Lalique Mermaid Theano Fine Glass Figurine French Figure Art Small 3 7/10" Lalique France Orig Chrysis Crystal French Art Glass Nude Hood OrnamentLalique France Crystal 5 Owl Hibou Frosted Art Glass 5.25" Open Vase Bowl Nr TfmLalique Nude Collectors Society Figurine, W/box, Excellent ConditionLalique France Art Glass Heart Cherubs Angels Ornament ExcellentLalique France Glass Sparrow Bird Figurine Ring /pin Dish / Bowl SignedLalique Roscoff Crystal Fish Bowl Or Platter SignedVintage Double Signed Lalique France Deux Fleurs French Crystal Perfume BottleLalique Les Enfants Shot Glass Signed Frosted And Clear Set Of 4. 3 Of 3 AuctionVtg Signed Lalique France Daisy Flower Frosted Art Glass Square Crystal Vase GgbR. Lalique, France, No.69, Art Glass Covered JarAuthentic Lalique Seahorse Sculpture, Original Box, Excellent ConditionRare Lalique Toupies Aqua Blue Frosted Crystal Spinning Art Glass Sculpture NrLalique Crystal "iridescent Owl Figurine" Lalique Green Glass Frog Sculpture – Immaculate Rene Lalique Fleurs D' Amour Roger Et Gallet Paris Powder BoxAuthentic Lalique Panda Sculpture / Figurine, Original Box, Excellent ConditionAuthentic Lalique Crystal Fish GreenLalique FrogLalique Angel Champagne Wine Flutes Set Of 4 GlassesCristal Lalique Paris Lion Statue 1990Lalique Crystal Snowflake Ornament Red NibLalique France Thistle Pattern Oval, Deco Vanity Frosted & Clear Crystal MirrorLalique Les Enfants Shot Glass Signed Frosted And Clear Set Of 4. 1 Of 3 AuctionLalique 18 Piece Lot 1 AuctionLalique Les Enfants Shot Glass Signed Frosted And Clear Set Of 4. 2 Of 3 AuctionLalique Crystal Holly Ornament Red NibLalique Miniature Perfume Bottle No Reserve1991 Signed Lalique France Noel Christmas Tree Ornament Crystal Frosted AmberLalique Crystal Blossom Bougainvillier Vase 7" Amber /yellowLalique Crystal Fish New In BoxLalique France Crystal Compiegne Oak Leaf Bowl Franch Art GlassLalique Signed 8 Sided Bowl 6 3/4"Signed Lalique France Leda And The Swan Female Nude Frosted Glass Figurine GgbLalique Anemone Paperweight Flower Sculpture Signed No ReserveLalique Bagatelle Vase With Sparrows And Foliage Signed Lalique France BeautifulA Vintage R. Lalique Fish In Blue-greenLalique Shell And Dimple Heavy Glass Vase, Crystal Lalique ParisLalique Collectors Society "lucie" Footed Shell Design Trumpet Vase 9639Signed Lalique France 5.75 Floral Embossed French Art Coaster 5.75 In Bowl NrSigned Lalique "dampierre" Footed Crystal Vase Frosted Birds & VinesVintage Lalique Les Enfants Powder, Trinket Or Vanity Box With CherubsLalique Crystal Vase Sparrows & Vines- 5" Made In France, With Paper LabelsLalique Crystal Vase W/floral PatternArtist Signed Lalique Frosted DuckGorgeous Lalique Crystal Reindeer Ornament/ Christmas Tree Ornament New In BoxLalique Tete De Lion Cigar Ashtray Signed Lalique "thalie" Frosted Crystal Love Dove Bird Ring Pin Tray Glass Dish Vintage Lalique France Crystal French Art Glass Dove Bird Perfume Bottle No RsvLalique BowlLalique Red Rouge Enameled Crystal Butterfly No Reserve Rare

Recent News: Lalique Art Glass

Source: Google News

The Next 7: Your guide to this week's entertainment
Elmira Star-Gazette, August 29th

Corning Museum of Glass: Kids and Teens Free. Several René Lalique featured exhibits, live glass blowing, make your own glass, Little Gather Storytelling, and hands-on activities; Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. 1 Museum Way, Corning. 937-5371, cmog.org...Read more

Unreserved Auction of Two Exceptional Collections of Porcelain, Glass, and ...
Virtual-Strategy Magazine, August 26th

Kaminski Auctions presents an unreserved auction September 13th, 2015 featuring two exceptional collections of porcelain, glass and silver: the private collection of Dorothea M. Beers of Palm Beach, Florida, a noted Palm Beach dealer in Continental ...Read more

Mullin Automotive Museum Releases New Book, Lalique Automotive Art
GlobeNewswire (press release), August 25th

Oxnard, Calif., Aug. 25, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Mullin Automotive Museum released its newest book, Lalique Automotive Art, during Monterey Car Week 2015. This book celebrates the unique art of French glass master René Lalique. Lalique ...Read more

Decorative Arts Modern Design Roseberys London Fine Art Auction
News-Antique.com (press release), August 25th

Better known at the beginning of his career as a master jeweller, Lalique turned his hand to glass making as part of the art deco movement. By 1925, at the aftermath of the industrial revolution, he was the most celebrated glassmaker in the world. A...Read more

Astounding 85-year lifetime antiques collection will be sold on-site, Aug. 26 ...
ArtfixDaily, August 23rd

An astounding single-owner lifetime collection of art glass, perfume bottles, banquet lamps, Dresden figurines, pickle castors and thousands of other items, many of them rare and all fresh to the market, will be sold August 26th-30th at a massive...Read more

Estate auction reveals Floyd Loop and Bernadine Healy as a prominent but ...
cleveland.com, August 23rd

The building's first floor resembled a furniture and art warehouse last week as auctioneer John Hobbs, of 3 Guys & A Lady Auctions in Lorain, continued the laborious work of sorting and cataloging. "It was an honor to get ... Chinese cloisonné. Never...Read more

Girlfriends Roadtrips, Pt. II
Huffington Post, August 18th

over 100 glass pieces in my Florida farm. Glass has been my "go to" deco accessory, Lalique and Daum chandeliers, tall Le Verre Francais vases, English silver and crystal perfume bottles, Murano tea sets, Baccarat crystal wine glasses and even a...Read more

Most Important Annual Labor Day Auction
Maine Antique Digest, August 11th

Orientalist bronze candelabra by Guillamin, several fine KPM plaques; Sevres and Vienna porcelains; Tiffany lamps and glass; superior examples of Lalique glass including frosted swans on glass plateau; huge Bacchantes vase, The Mask and others...Read more