René Lalique (1860-1945) is known as a major figure of Art Nouveau in the fields of jewellery and glassware. His unique style is unmistakable.
René Lalique joined the workshop of jeweller Louis Aucoc in 1876. After attending the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and spending two years in England, he settled down and supplied designs to the greatest jewellers such as Jacta, Boucheron, Cartier, Gariod… René Lalique also worked for Henri Vever until 1898, a renowned jeweller in the Rue de la Paix, who passed on to him the knowledge of the plique-à-jour technique. In 1885, he took over the workshop of the jeweller Jules Destapes and launched his career as a jeweller.
An Art Nouveau figure
The Art Nouveau movement, all curves and arabesques, honours women and the natural world. The women depicted in Alfons Mucha’s posters are an example of this, they embody the spirit of the new century, they are free and their forms are fluid, their sinuous hair floating in the middle of blooming flowers. The women in René Lalique’s jewellery are often hybrids, mermaid-women, dragonfly-women and butterfly-women.
The success of a talented artist
Lalique’s stunning jewellery was a hit with wealthy customers, including the actress Sarah Bernhardt and the wealthy financier Calouste Gulbenkian, who was an ardent admirer of Lalique’s work and amassed a large collection that can now be admired in the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon. The latter, a fervent admirer of Lalique’s work, put together an important collection that can now be admired in the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon.
In 1900, René Lalique won an unparalleled triumph at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. This was the high point of his career as a jeweller.
As the inventor of modern jewellery, René Lalique innovated by using materials that were rarely used for jewellery at the time: enamel, opals and other fine stones, which he sometimes embellished with pearls and diamonds.
Lalique’s work shows the extent of his genius. The artist’s phantasmagorical creatures no longer shock anyone, they fascinate. These unique and poetic pieces are highly prized for their aesthetics but above all for their quality of execution. Jewellery signed by René Lalique often fetch five-figure bids.