Friday, 31 December 2010

LALIQUE: the Gulbenkian Dragonfly enamel brooch

Rene Jules Lalique, born in 1860, is one of the greatest glassmakers and jewellery designer of all times but he will specially be recognised as one of the symbols of Art Nouveau. And this dragonfly in the museum of Armenian collector Calouste Gulbenkian is one of the grandest examples of his work.

Lalique grew up in the outskirts of Paris and since very young he trained in design and drawing and even did an apprenticeship as goldsmith. He was always attracted by nature in all his forms and this would become the pillar of all his works and designs. In 1876 he moved to London to attend Sydenham Art College and on his return to Paris he worked as a freelance designer for Cartier, Boucheron and other jewellers. In 1885 he opened his own business with his own brand winning several prizes for his sculptures and art jewelry. He manufactured some of the famous jewels from Sarah Bernhardt.

He was not only one of the biggest contributors to the Art Nouveau movement but also achieved huge recognition from his Art Deco work. He died in 1945 but his firm continues manufacturing glasswork today.