Rene Lalique /Rene Lalik /

Glass production

Rene Lalique /Rene Lalik /

Rene Lalique (1860 - 1945) was a French jeweler and glassmaker, one of the outstanding representatives of Art Nouveau.

Rene Lalique (1860 - 1945) was born in the town of Aye (department of Marne) on April 6, 1860. In 1876 he became an apprentice to a goldsmith, continued his education at the School of Decorative Arts in Paris and workshops in London (1878-1880). He worked on orders from the house of Cartier, and then from P. Destap, who gave him the leadership of his workshop in 1886. The sensational success at the 1900 World's Fair contributed to the advertising of his products, as well as the fact that the famous Sarah Bernhardt was among the main customers of Lalique. According to one version, it was she who introduced the artist to Kalust Gulbenkian, an Armenian by origin, a Kuwaiti magnate who became a patron of R.J. Lalik. The collection of the jeweler's works in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon today has about 150 items and is one of the largest in the world.

Rene Lalique created dynamic, unusual forms of works. After the First World War, Lalique worked in two factories (in Combe-la-Ville from 1910, and then, after the acquisition in 1918 of another, larger factory - in Vincennes-sur-Modere (Alsace)) He was engaged in the production of various glass products, including vases, lighting fixtures, jewelry using colored glass, and figures-symbols for car radiator grilles (the first of them was made by order of Henri Citroen). Rene Lalique experimented a lot with glass. If his first works were made by the method of "disappearing wax" (taken by him from jewelry techniques), then he developed and implemented the injection molding method at the plant in Vincennes-sur-Modere. Many of his sculptures and vases were made in this way. Unusual colored glass and glass with a patina (colored enamel) applied to it is a characteristic feature of Lalique's works.

The recipe of the famous Lalique opalescent glass is still a "secret of the company". He brought into his works a sharp drama unprecedented for this kind of art: in addition to whimsically curly female hair and draperies, flowers and peacocks, his favorite motifs were twinkling snakes and insects. He also introduced mythological grotesques. He preferred (in comparison with E. Galle's glass) much simpler silhouettes and surfaces, decorating them, however, with a thin relief, delicately colored decor. At the same time, the models were cast or pressed into molds, which ensured the mass production (the famous perfume bottles were the leaders in it, but Lalique enterprises also produced dining and decorative dishes, lamps and chandeliers, and later large decorative panels). Being one of
stylistic sources of Art Deco, his glassmaking reached the heights of popularity in the 1920s, when panels and other Lalique products became one of the main decorations of the French department of the International Exhibition of Decorative Art in Paris (1925). Lalique also applied his talent to the creation of crystal bottles for the perfume company Coty and others (Nina Ricci still uses Lalique crystal bottles today). Today, the Lalique brand has its own fragrances, such as: Lalique De Lalique, Lalique Pour Homme or Amethyst.
In the last years of his life, Rene Lalique did a lot of "large forms" - the design of hotels, churches, restaurants. The Normandy steamer is decorated by Lalique. Light panels, chandeliers, sconces, door panels, columns, serving items, tableware, interior decorations, fountains and much more were produced by the company in the 1930-40 years.

He created combs, buckles and various ornaments using, in addition to traditional gold, silver and precious stones, horn, as well as semi-precious stones, which in general had almost gone out of use by that time. In every possible way, against the background of intensive mechanization of jewelry, he elevated the importance of manual labor and figurative principles, contrasting the latter with purely quantitative luxury (the number of carats in "one Lalique", as a rule, is significantly less than in the similar kind of standard jewelry of that time). He created jewelry for the unique Sarah Bernhardt. The Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna ordered jewelry from him. His works were in demand among fashionable Parisians and residents of other capitals of the world. Rene Jules Lalique, a jeweler and glass artist, is rightfully considered one of the leaders of the Art Nouveau style. After the death of Rene Lalique, his company was headed by his son, Marc Lalique, and then by his granddaughter, Marie-Claude. In 2010, a major exhibition of Lalique's works was held in the Moscow Kremlin. Name of R.J. Lalique in the history of the world jewelry art is on a par with the names of such internationally renowned masters as Carl Faberge, Frederic Boucheron, Louis-Francois Cartier, Louis K. Tiffany. His glass products, as well as jewelry, were destined to have a significant impact on the formation and further development of decorative and applied art of the new XX century. Rene Lalique became a legend of his era - in some twenty-four years. It was then, in 1884, that Alphonse Fouquet said about the young artist: "Until now I have not known a single jewelry designer - and I have just met the first one." Luck played a minimal role in Rene's fate, and the main one was given to hard labor: he drew, modeled, sculpted, conducted tests day and night long to create "hitherto unseen things". The lifetime fame of R.J. Lalique was great. In 1900 , at the World 's Fair in Paris , he was awarded
Grand Prix and awarded the Legion of Honor. The works of the Parisian jeweler were included in the expositions of many European countries. At the 1926 World's Fair, he already had his own pavilion. The Lalique firm continued to exist after the death of the great master, who died on May 5, 1945 in Paris in the eighty-sixth year of his long and bright life. And today, fashionistas all over the world highly appreciate inimitable jewelry, mysteriously elegant perfume bottles, fantastic vases and even... unforgettable flavors
spirits. Sarah Bernhardt becomes his fan and living model. It is for her that he creates the famous "collars" made of mother-of-pearl, jewelry, ceramics or metal. She orders him necklaces, bracelets, brooches and combs for each individual performance.

Lalique even comes up with hairstyles for her. At the beginning of the twentieth century, most of the aromatic products were sold in nondescript pharmacy bottles. Wealthy ladies poured perfume into a special elegant container with a spray bottle, and the less wealthy had to be content with a simple flask. Perfume bottles represented works of applied art and, in fact, were universal containers that had the right to independent existence regardless of what perfume was inside. Rene Lalique helped to realize the idea of creating an ensemble of perfumes, a name and a bottle united by one concept. His successful creative union with Francois Coty marked the beginning of the formation of a new industry – the mass production of perfume bottles. Rene Lalique's popularity was so great that no one was surprised when he was awarded a high honor - the title of Knight of the Legion of Honor. Meanwhile, the newly-made cavalier spent all his free time in his small glass-blowing workshop, serenely inventing things made of glass: vases, candlesticks, dishes.

Glass is a relatively cheap, as well as a plastic material capable of taking many forms, colors and shades, which allowed Master Lalik to realize an old dream: to make beauty accessible to many. Here the paths of Francois Coty and Rene Lalique finally crossed. It happened in 1905, when Coty opened his company store on Place Vendome in Paris near the workshop of Rene Lalique. But their cooperation developed slowly.

At first, Coty asked Lalique to design labels in a neighborly way, and only two years later ordered him the first bottle for a new floral fragrance, the name of which was given by the famous rose variety - "jacmino". The success of the fragrance was simply deafening, and the duo Lalique and Coty continued to work. In 1908, a new masterpiece appeared - a bottle for cologne L'effleurt ("Touch"), made of baccarat crystal, with a relief plate of dark glass instead of a label.

For several years, the artist has developed 16 bottles for Francois Coty. Other perfumers, realizing that elegant packaging will now be a mandatory component of success, also turn to Lalique. He designs for companies such as Roget&Gallet, Worth, Molinard, Guerlain, Lelong, Houbigant. In total, Rene Lalique "dressed" more than 250 fragrances. Everything that Rene Lalique gave to the world cannot be counted, because True Beauty can only be felt.