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Monday, 4 November 2013

An Art Nouveau Rene LALIQUE bash at the next auction by Christie's King Street in London

Rene Lalique Art Nouveau corsage ornament


Normally one piece made by Rene Lalique in the purest Art Nouveau style would already be the highlight of any auction. This month we have six of them, all of them offered at the same time by Christie's in London. I cannot think of a better opportunity to start an Art Nouveau collection!.
Rene Lalique Gold and enamel Art Nouveau buckle

Glass and Opal Art Nouveau pendant by Rene Lalique

Gold and horn leaf brooch by Rene Lalique

When Rene Lalique presented seventeen pieces and four drawings in 1985 at the Salon des Artistes in Paris the jewellery world went upside down. Not only was a pioneer and created the Art Nouveau style, he was a true rebel and questioned all the basic principles that had grounded jewellery for centuries: A piece should be valued for the artistry of its design and its colour harmony more than for the price of the precious metals and stones it displayed. And he went further, to prove it, his designs used all kind of affordable semi precious stones, enamel and unconventional materials like ivory or tortoiseshell. At the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900 he was already revered as a Modernist genius and the style had rapidly expanded across Europe and the US. By 1905 the Art Nouveau movement had disappeared; it died of its own success, the "cheapness" of the materials attracted many craftsmen, artists and jewellers that could not have afforded entering the trade otherwise, they were driven by an unprecedented demand also caused by the prices. Thus, a huge number of replicas and uninteresting cheap versions of Lalique's work flooded the market and the style was then dismissed by the elite.

Only Lalique's creations and those a few others like George Fouquet, Gaillard, Henry Vever Wolfers or Louis Comfort Tiffany have survived as true masterpieces.