Collecting Lalique Glass
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Collecting Lalique Glass

Rene Lalique. Suzanne. Circa 1925
Ren´┐Ż Lalique was born in Ay, France in 1860. From an early age his mother was aware of his artist nature and encouraged it wherever she could. At 16 he began an apprentice ship with the then famous Paris jeweller, Louis Aucoc. By the time he was 21 he was designing his own unique and innovative jewellery. In 1885 he opened his own workshop and quickly gained a reputation for his graceful and unique creations of animal, plant and human forms. Lalique was the first to bring together semi-precious stones with mediums like ivory, coral, pearl, enamel and even glass.

It was not long before Lalique attracted International attention and in 1900 he exhibited his jewellery at the Paris Exposition Universelle, where he attracted many notable clients of the day, creating a great demand for his work. After achieving this pinnacle of success His thoughts refocused on a new concept; glass making.
Lalique had already experimented with glass in jewellery making and at the age of 50, he changed his career to become a master glassmaker. This change of direction proved to be very successful, gaining him worldwide fame. A name that lives on today in as symbol of excellence.

Lalique opened a shop near the famous perfumier Francis Coty. In 1907 he started creating perfume bottles for Coty. Eventually he was doing the same for names like Worth, D'Orsay, Guerlain, and many others. Lalique created more than 250 different bottles. Although most sell for modest amounts today, some have sold for tens of thousands of dollars at auction.

Besides his signature pieces, Rene Lalique soon brought his art into every day life by mass-producing tableware, inkwells, vases, chandeliers, and clocks. In fact at one point his factories were employing up to 600 people creating millions of pieces of glassware.
Lalique glass bowl
The Art Nouveau movement, in which Lalique played an important role, spanned the years between 1890-1925. The artists of the day were drawing their inspiration from nature, in the form of flowing water, leaves, vines and animals. Lalique stood among great names like Louis Comfort Tiffany, Toulouse Lautrec and Galle, all of which greatly influenced the movement.

In all his work Rene Lalique is best known in glassware for his vases. His talent shines through in his masterful way of producing the amber, plum, blue. Opalescent, grey green, black and yellow hues he obtained by meticulously adding measured amounts of pigment to darken the glass. Geometric designs with smooth flowing lines and vibrant colours are so characteristic of his work. Making it so collectable today. He also personalised much of his work with frosting, polishing and glazing to give it that individual look.

In the 1920's Lalique found a way of decorating car "bonnets" or "hoods" as they are called in America. In the form of glass mascots produced in flowing shapes of animals, fish, horse heads, frogs etc. In all Lalique created 29 "Car Mascots". Female nudes were also a favourite design. All the mascots were designed to be illuminated from with-in by a small light bulb. Filters were used in various colours to change the hues. These glass mascots were designed for the most stylish cars of the day like Bentley, Bugatti and Hispano Suiza. So collectable today!

World War 11 forced the closure of his factory, he died in 1945 before it could be re-opened. Laliques' son Marc took over after his fathers death, instituting a change in the medium used, from demi-crystal to full lead crystal. Laliques granddaughter, Marie-Claude, later led the company and introduced her own style with clear crystal with coloured motifs.

Pre 1939 (Second World War) pieces are the most sought after by collectors. Lalique marked much of his work, even the mass produced pieces as "R.Lalique" but this is only by rule of thumb as his signature can be found in many forms and is difficult to give a definitive guideline as to what was made before or after 1939. Reference books and Lalique experts are the only answer. A most useful site to help further ones knowledge about signatures and other Lalique information, click on www.deco1925.com/

The pieces created by Marc Lalique are signed "Lalique France", And "Lalique h France" is the work of Marie-Claude.

Tips for the inexperienced Collector.

Condition is all important, chips, ground down edges, drill holes from conversions of say a bowl to lampshade. These can greatly reduce value. Colour can also make a great difference. Some colours are more rare than others and can command high prices, like electric blue and very dark amethyst.

Is it genuine? There is very little worry about known Lalique designs being faked. But, there is a very big problem with modern Czech glass, bearing Lalique signatures. These are quite common. Care must be taken when buying from on online auction sites where they are being sold in volume, along with less valuable French glass of the 1920's again with a Lalique signature.

For Lalique Enthusiasts and Collectors/

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