French art glass is often associated with Art Nouveau, thanks to the work of Emile Gallé, Daum Frères, and René Lalique. Gallé was considered the medium’s king, establishing the town of Nancy as a center for art glass. After his passing in 1904, Daum Frères became the preeminent name.

Daum Verrerie de Nancy, as it was known, began as a manufacturer of pocket watch crystals and household glassware. But founder Jean Daum’s sons, Antonin and Auguste, had other ideas, which led to their firm’s introduction of etched Art Nouveau cameo glass at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Daum used acid to etch its pieces, as well as to selectively alter some of their underlying colors. Acid could also be used to frost surfaces or make them shiny. Meanwhile, wheel-turning techniques were used to give the surfaces of some Daum pieces a hammered look, which, of course, would be an impossibility in glass.

In the early 1900s, Daum introduced frosted Vitrified pieces as well as polished Jade objects. During World War I, the company suspended its production of art glass, turning its attention instead to medical glass needed for the war effort. One of Auguste’s sons, Jean, who was active in the operations of the company, was killed in the Battle of Verdun.

Between the wars, Daum shifted its aesthetic from Art Nouveau to Art Deco, and its business practices from hand-crafting to mass-production. Pâte-de-verre—in which crushed glass was placed in a mold, heated until it had fused, and then finished using some of the same cameo-glass techniques—was also widely used. In general, Daum vases from the 1920s and ’30s were squatter and more rounded than the tall and slender shapes of the early 1900s.

After World War II, the company shifted gears once more, this time focusing its artistic energies on clear, brilliant, lead crystal, which was hot-worked into figures or blown as vessels. These pieces were not entirely new, though, having descended from the Daum Christalerie de Nancy work of the 1920s. Similarly, pâte-de-verre was reintroduced in the 1970s as Pâte-de-Verre Nouveau.

As for René Lalique, even though he is known today for his antique art glass, Lalique 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.

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.

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.

By 1921, Lalique had opened a high-volume factory at Wingen-sur-Moder, in Alsace. The goal was to 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.

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.

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    

Outstanding Blueish Lalique Art Deco Box: Hirondelles, Swallows, Circa 1925Signed Lalique France Vase Birds Bagatelle Cristal Crystal French Art Glass VaseSigned Lalique France Art Glass Frosted Crystal Cactus Perfume Bottle W/stopperSigned Lalique France French Frosted Art Glass Anemone Flower Desk Paperweight Pair Lalique Chene Double Old-fashioned Tumbler Glasses Frosted LeavesSigned Baccarat France Seated Frog Toad Art Glass Figurine Paperweight Nr NcbA Stunning Original Lalique France Clear And Frosted Glass Wild Boar "sanglier"Beautiful Antique Art Deco Nouveau French Le Verre Francais Cameo Art Glass VaseStunning Lalique Art Glass Signed French Heavy Molded Leaf Centerpiece Bowl Lalique France, Clairefontaine, Lily Of The Valley Crystal Perfume Scent BottleVintage Lalique Glass Signed Small Anemone Flower BowlSet 12 Lalique Algues Noir Tree Of Life 7-3/4" Frosted Black Glass Salad Plates Set 6 Baccarat Massena French Crystal 3-5/8" Flat Tumbler Glasses Lalique Crystal France Dampierre Vase Sparrows & Hearts6 Old Lalique Chene Double Old-fashioned Tumbler Glasses W/ Frosted Leaves ChipsAntique 1920s Art Deco Secessionist Daum France Moda Cameo Art Glass Vase, NrBaccarat Crystal Butterfly (signed)Daum France Signed Mimosa Pate De Verre Green Art Glass Bowl Signed Lalique France Art Glass Frosted Crystal Dahlia Vanity Jar Powder Box Beautiful Lalique Crystal Frosted Leaves Small VaseR. Lalique Bowl, Ondines, Signed, France, Circa 1925, Opalescent & Frosted Glass Lalique Simone No.300 Grey Frosted Glass Cendrier Designed By R Lalique SignedSet 12 Baccarat Massena French Crystal 7" Water Goblet StemsVintage 1940s Lalique Perfume Bottle ~ 4 Women Frosted Panels ~ Signed 85% FullSet Of 2 Baccarat Crystal Massena Champagne Flute 8 1/2" Boxed3 Baccarat Massena French Crystal 5-3/8" Cordial Stems Glasses Old Rare Sabino France Opalescent Glass Glass Figurine Ornament D5Vintage Remy Martin Louis Xiii Baccarat Crystal Decanter Display Liquor BottleArt Glass Baccarat Cat-7 Inch-signed-orig Box-french-nr!A Beautiful Genuine Original Nancy Daum Acid Etched & Enamel Thistle VaseLalique Bacchantes Vase Frosted Crystal Women Bacchus Priestess - No Reserve!!!!Set 12 Baccarat Massena French Crystal 6-1/2" Claret Wine Stem GlassesVtg R Lalique French Art Glass Vanity Dish Lievres Rabbit Hare Old Antique Jar !5 Saint Louis Gold Crystal "thistle" Water Glasses Open Banded Foot VgSet 6 Lalique Algues Noir Tree Of Life 7-3/4" Frosted Black Glass Salad Plates Daum Stunning Green Frog PaperweightEstate Baccarat Dated 1972 Salamander Reptile Lampwork Art Glass Paperweight Pair Baccarat Massena French Crystal 6-1/2" Claret Wine Stem GlassesBaccarat France Glass Tea Caddy Cookie Candy Jar~antique Vintage MarkedBeautiful Baccarat Crystal Serpentine 8" VasePair Baccarat Massena French Crystal 3-5/8" Flat Tumbler Glasses Antique Baccarat Crystal French Art Deco Trévoux Decanter. Circa 1920's. 6 Lbs.Daum Nancy France Art Deco Art Glass Bowl/vase (3.5" Height)Gorgeous Art Nouveau Wild Rose On Blue Cameo Art Glass Vase Aft Emile Galle YqzBeautiful Rare Neiman Marcus Daum Pate De Verre Cherub Angel Crystal OrnamentPair Of Vintage Purple Sabino Art Glass VasesSabino France Opalescent/ Frosted Fish FigurineTall Cameo Art Glass Lighted Lamp Base Floral Design Rich Colors Signed GalleVintage French Glass Dove Verlys Sabino Etling LaliqueBaccarat Crystal Animal Sculpture Guepard Imperial Cheetah 12" Loet Vanderveen Lalique France Chat Assis 'sitting Cat' Art Glass Sculpture R. Lalique Dancing Women Perfume Bottle Signed Lalique Crystal France "frejus" [1956-2006] Set 16 Wine Cordial GlassesDaum France A. Fassianos Limited Edition 539/2000 Kallisti Red Rouge Gold GiltRare Lalique First Annual Plate 1965 Mint SignedVintage Crystal Eagle Head Paperweigth Car Mascot Tete D Aigle By Lalique FranceLalique "brambles" Crystal Vase 2008 - NibRare Baccarat Neptune Decanter Double Signed & Stopper SignedSet Of 11 Baccarat Crystal "francois Villon" 6 7/8" Iced Tea GlassesArt Deco Vaseline Glass ' Nude Girl ' Bohemia 1930