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senses-artnouveau.com: René LALIQUE biography



French jeweler, perfume bottles designer and glass artist

After training and studying in Paris, France, Lalique began his career as jewelry designer and created the first truly modern pieces in Art Nouveau style. Raising jewelry to the status of fine art, he experimented new techniques and used new prestigious materials, such as glass and enamel, ivory and amber, pearls and semi-precious stones, combined with precious metal to create subtle effects. In 1886, he set up his own workshop in Paris and began a period of intense creativity. In 1890 he made original stage jewelry for the legendary actress Sarah Bernardt. He later presented his works with great success at the 1900 Universal Fair in Paris and at numerous international exhibitions in Europe and America.

René Lalique portrait

In 1908 he devoted himself only to glass making and began designing his first perfume bottles and jewel-like glassware. By that time, glass had become a favorite material for Art Nouveau artist-designers, such as Gallé and Tiffany, who used brilliant, opalescent or iridescent colored glass. Gaining rapidly recognition and wide appreciation, Lalique began working for the most important perfume houses in France.

Using the lost-wax casting technique he created luxurious mold-made and crystal glass scent bottles, depicting romantic or symbolic figures, plants, flowers or animals, made in translucent pale colors with mat finish and highly decorative glass stoppers.

By 1914, Lalique had also created a wide range of beautiful glasswork, such as vases, desk or toilet accessories and tableware designed for industrial production. In 1925 he began working in Art Deco Style and exhibited his glassware at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris.

René Lalique was an outstanding Art Nouveau jewelry and glass artist. With amazing technical virtuosity, taste for innovation and experimentation, he created masterpieces in his own original style. Inspired by nature, his glass works were made in pale, clear crystal glass, featuring dream-like subjects and sensuous female figures or couple embracing, recurrent motifs such as birds, butterflies, horses and lions or mythical animals, foliage or floral shapes.

The famous Lalique Brooch for Gulbenkian

Today the name Lalique has become synonymous with elegant glass perfume bottles and luxurious collectibles and re-editions are made in molded crystal glass, sealed by original decorative stopper and golden lace fittings.

Major works:

Stage jewelry for Sarah Bernardt (1894); "The Kiss" brooch, in silver and molded glass (1904).
Jewelry : necklaces, pendants, brooches, diadems and dress ornaments, in gold with precious stones and enamel, amber, ivory or glass (c.1897-1908).

"The Kiss", figural scent bottle in molded glass, decorative glass stopper and golden fittings (c.1908); "The Lion", figural scent bottle in molded glass (c.1910).

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