R Lalique Cire Perdue Wasp Vase by Rene Lalique

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Welcome To The R Lalique Blog

December 16th, 2017

Glad you stopped by! Here we report R Lalique news, auction results, upcoming event information, and our observations and opinions about the entire World of R. Lalique. If there is any topic you’d like to see covered, please drop us a note at info@rlalique.com. All R Lalique enthusiasts, all admirers of Rene Lalique, and all interested R Lalique collectors and observers are welcome to participate. Comments, additions, corrections, new information, and bug reports, are greatly appreciated!! Hope to see you hanging around the Blog!

Hot On The Heels Of The Pink Wonder: A Blue Acanthes Vase Look-Alike Does Ebay

November 26th, 2017

Acanthes Vase In Blue Glass Not Matching Authentic Examples Sold On Ebay For $4550

Following up on the Pink Acanthes story from June, appearing on Ebay this month was a blue glass Acanthes vase look-alike that had many of the warning signs. And while questionable items appear on EBay all the time, what got our attention with this particular vase is not just that it sold for $4550 to some really lucky buyer, but that it doesn’t appear to be in the same mold as the pinko vase you’ve heard tell about. Sure they both have unfinished wrong necks. They both have the apparently low mold quality to the design. They both don’t match the literature for authentic pieces, and they both lack the great molded signature you like to see on an authentic Acanthes.

Acanthes Vase In Blue Glass Signature Not Matching Authentic Examples Sold On Ebay For $4550

But where so many of these propositions fall flattest, is how the base is finished. In the great falling flat contest, the blue one seen here takes the prize. A right minded *** person might think that if all the other signals were missed, that all by itself the bottom of this vase should have the lucky buyer singing the blues.

Obviously opinions vary since it’s hard to imagine bidders chasing the vase up over $4000 if they didn’t believe the vase was an authentic R. Lalique vase. So take a look and judge for yourself if this looks like what you’d expect from the underside of an authentic R. Lalique Acanthes Vase or any R. Lalique Vase.

And if you don’t know enough to decide for yourself, make it a point to see and handle as much R. Lalique as you can. Get educated and get independent advice on your purchases.

Nobody wants to be a penguin, right?

One other note about the Ebay listing. The seller never said it was an R. Lalique Acanthes Vase. What the seller did do was title the listing: “R Lalique France signed numbered blue colored glass Art Deco vase”. We’ve had sellers including auction houses say with a straight face that all they meant was it was signed as stated, not that it was actually what the signature said. Two words come to mind when hearing that explanation when a seller has left their own purposefully created inference out there without contradiction: Sharp Practice ****.

Of course on Ebay in the title to your listings: “Only mention the brand name of the manufacturer that actually produced your item …” ***** Good luck with that in this instance!

And this is a good time to repeat our oft pontificated advice: It doesn’t matter what the motive or knowledge of the seller was. It only matters what you know. Maybe the seller just meant to say it was signed as stated. Your job as a collector is to know what’s right and wrong and not rely on the seller.

Acanthes Vase In Blue Glass Not Matching Authentic Examples Sold On Ebay For $4550

** Hot on the heels is a phrase that is said to have originated with hunting, capturing the reality of the living warm creature with all living things getting hotter as the pursuers get closer to the pursued. It’s almost the opposite of “the trail went cold” for the same reason. So here it’s used to say that the blue came right after the pink. In this instance the phrase “Hard on the heels of ..” would also be appropriate.

*** A right-minded person is in a good mental state… sane, rational, stuff like that.

**** A sharp practice is a crafty or deceitful dealing.

***** Here is an excerpt from the Ebay Page headed “Creating legally compliant listings” :

“Search manipulation (using unrelated brands in a listing title in order to attract people searching for those items) is another misuse of brands that isn’t allowed on eBay. Example: If you were listing an Acme TV for sale, you can’t mention other television manufacturers in your title simply to attract buyers looking for those items. This kind of search manipulation isn’t allowed on eBay. Only mention the brand name of the manufacturer that actually produced your item and don’t misrepresent your relationship with that manufacturer”

The Czech Forest Vase – A Common R. Lalique Forgery

October 11th, 2017

The Czech Forest Vase is one of the most often seen vases with a forged R. Lalique Signature. But in last week’s mail came an inquiry from a purchaser who had bought the vase on hope alone without even the phony signature in place. The correspondence speaks for itself. **

Czech Forest Vase Sold As R. LaliqueDear Madam or Sir,
I bought this vase on a budget resolution and I am not sure if this is a
real vase from R. Lalique.
It would be great if you can help me out.
The vase has no signature or a mark at the bottom. The weight is 3267 Grams.
On the floor of the vase there are strong traces of use.
I was searching your website and I did find this vase. The model looks
like a fake one, but the color is different.
I am a collector and it would be great if you could tell me more about it.
Attached you will find some pictures of the vase.

Thank you in advance for your effort.

Kind regards from Stuttgart,
Hopeful Buyer

Our reply:

Hello Hopeful Buyer. Thanks for contacting us.

The vase in your photos (1 is attached to this reply) is a Czech forest vase.

You can see it in a Czech glass catalogue at this link in the Sources of Fakes section of the website:

Czech Glass Catalogue

Also here is an Ebay search for the phrase Czech Forest Vase where you can see some for sale:

Czech Forest Vases For Sale On Ebay

And another Ebay search to see some that actually sold:

Sold Czech Forest Vases On Ebay

General Rule: Do not buy any piece of “R. Lalique” that is not signed and documented.

Best Regards,

RLalique.com

And the buyer’s follow-up:

Czech Forest Vase Shown From Above Sold As R. Lalique
Dear RLalique.com,
Thank you for your Mail. You have a great website!
The next time I will be more careful.
Kind regards
Hopeful Buyer

Obviously the buyer should have checked (there is a bad pun in there somewhere) the website before the purchase and not after 🙂

** The emails were cleaned up slightly to remove personal info, compact the content, and correct errors/typos etc.

Rago Auctions Presents Another Great R. Lalique Collection September 22nd!

September 20th, 2017

Post-Sale Update:

The short version: What A Great Sale!

The rest of the story:

68 lots were offered at the auction, one of which was a small book lot that sold. Of the remaining 67 lots, all of which were R. Lalique items, 65 sold and 2 remained unsold. The overall sale rate for all lots in the auction was over 97% based on the number of lots, and over 99% based on the estimates, the 2 no-sales being relatively low value items.

Against a total estimate range of $253,300 to $362,700, the hammer prices of $375,400 exceeded the high estimate, and the total sale including the buyers premium of $469,250 was well outside the high estimate. The top seller was Lot 1, the Tortues Vase in alexandrite glass that made $30,000 all-in. On the same basis 2nd place at $25,000 went to Lot 7, the red Escargot Vase; in 3rd place was the blue glass Martin-Pêcheurs Vase as Lot 5 at $23,750; and in 4th place was the Lot 3 amber Serpent Vase for $20,000. The average price for the 66 sold lots was $7,110.

It was yet another amazingly successful sale for the works of Rene Lalique at Rago. The high selling lot accounted for only about 6% of the sale total. And the depth of interest revealed itself in the large number of bidders and the over 2 dozen buyers from 5 continents around the world.

End of Post-Sale Update.

Hot on the heels of its highly successful R. Lalique Solana Collection sale in May of this year, RagoArts in Lambertville New Jersey is bringing yet another decades old single owner collection to auction on Friday September 22nd, 2017. The Lexora Collection consists primarily of highly desirable colored vases and features both rare models and rare colors of commercial vases.

Four examples tell the story.

Lot 1 is an Alexandrite Tortues Vase (Turtles Vase) that changes color under different light sources. **

Tortues Vase In Alexandrite Glass Color 1 of 2

Tortues Vase In Alexandrite Glass Color 2 of 2

Lot 5 is a rare blue glass Martin Pêcheurs Vase.Martin Pêcheurs Vase In Blue Glass

Lot 33 is a green opalescent Avallon Vase.Avallon Vase In Green Opalescent Glass

Pigeons Vase In Ice Blue GlassAnd Lot 35 is an ice blue Pigeons Vase that combines a rare model with an equally rare color.

Of the 68 total lots, all but 7 are vases, and all but a handful of the vases are colored glass. And the remaining 7 lots have some great models including a black glass Biches Inkwell and the blue glass Mesanges Bracelet.

More good news is the reasonable estimates for some great highly marketable pieces, and the online condition reports that Rago represents to be accurate.

It shapes up to be a great looking sale with the opportunity to acquire some seldom seen items, and also to have a chance at some great popular colored vases and other models at reasonable prices.

You can see the entire sale catalog HERE!

And don’t miss the additional R. Lalique items on September 23rd in Rago’s Decorative Arts sale. Here is a link to that listing in the Worldwide Auction section.

** Alexandrite was first discovered in the Ural Mountains in 1830. It was named after the young heir to the Russian throne Alexander II.

Meteor Perfume Bottle Made By Coty – Not R. Lalique!

August 5th, 2017

Meteor Perfume Bottle Made By Coty Circa 1949 Signed Coty France In The Mold On The UndersideIn 1949, Coty (no Francois, he was dead in 1934) introduced the fragrance Meteor. It was presented in a bottle made in its own glassworks, the Coty Glassworks. All the bottles we’ve seen, some with glass disk shaped stoppers, others with some kind of plastic or Bakelite caps or stoppers, are all signed Coty France. That makes sense; they were made by Coty in France. Duh.

Nowhere is there any R. Lalique signature on any of items in the perfume’s presentation for the obvious reasons, including the absence of Rene Lalique in 1949 owing to his death 4 years earlier.

This all brings us to the reason for this article. A regular seller of R. Lalique on Ebay, screen name georgina8648, with an Ebay store named “Lalique Originals”, has for sale as we speak, a 1949 (or later) Meteor Perfume Bottle at the following link advertised thusly (the whole reason for this article was not to work in the word “thusly”):

R. Lalique Rinceaux for Meteor by Coty – Revised Listing

UPDATE 1 of 2 – August 9, 2017: The seller has changed the listing at the above link. See a link to the original listing at the end of this article. END OF UPDATE 1 of 2

That ridiculous claim of R. Laliqueism (yea, we just made that word up, and we might have made up thusly also, someone should check) is further buttressed in the item description with the following nonsense:

“The box is tatty** but reasonably intact for its 100 years.”

Maybe if the marbled plasticky (and there we go again) cap was pink, these claims would gain some credence in certain highfalutin*** circles. But the cap is not pink, so there will be no moral support from any fellow dealers, pinkos, or other really smart people.

But maybe there should be, because when you look at the photos of the bottle in the plastic base with the wonderful cap, and that great Coty France molded signature on the underside, the whole thing just screams R. Lalique, doesn’t it?

Back to planet earth, so why is there even a thin thread for a seller to try to stand on with this R. Lalique claim?

Well, for starters, in their groundbreaking 1990 book Lalique Perfume Bottles, the Utts say on Page 100 that there is a drawing by Rene Lalique of a similar bottle design for Coty for Meteor from 1914 showing a label that says “Meteor Harrods London”. No bottle has ever appeared with this label of course that we know of and we know of no evidence that any Meteor bottle was made in 1914. Not having seen this drawing ourselves, do you think it has a plastic cap and base? And for the 2nd hook, there appears in the 2014 Catalogue Raisonne a picture of a similar bottle to this 1949 Coty bottle, without a stopper and sans the plastic cap of course, and having a different neck, but with a Meteor Label. The Cat Res dates its bottle to 1911. Either way, and assuming the best case, in 1911 or 1914 Meteor was just a twinkle in the eye of Rene Lalique and the anti-semitic wind-bag Francois Coty.****

This best case would mean the 1949 Coty bottle is a somewhat close copy by Coty of an original R. Lalique design. And that is assuming there were prototypes or bottles made back in 1914 or 1911 or whenever for a fragrance that was not marketed until after 2 wars later when both Coty and Lalique were dead! Of course, the Cat Res says the 1911 bottle was not signed. Hmmmmm, this bottle is signed …. for Coty! How weird is that?

Plastic Stand For The Meteor Perfume Bottle That Was Made By Coty Circa 1949 And Is Signed Coty France In The Mold On The UndersideNow we’ve never had an unsigned prototype bottle in-hand, or seen one in the flesh. But of course we’ve never seen the Grateful Dead and we’re pretty sure they exist. So anything is possible. But again, so what? None of these side-show highlights can make the 1949 Coty bottle an R. Lalique bottle.

Anyway, one of our great volunteers wrote the seller with the salient facts, delivered with no rancor. Yet after a respectful waiting period the seller’s claims remain, and we figured it’s time to get on the record. But the really good news for anyone out there that thinks for a few hundred dollars you are going to get a legit R. Lalique bottle full of 100 year old perfume topped by the coolest marbled cap, is that Meteor bottles appear regularly costing only hundreds of dollars, with boxes that are not ratty/tatty, and properly advertised for what they are: Coty Bottles. But here we have an R. Lalique dealer adding a few decades and taking a few liberties. Who else would work that up? Of course this is not exactly an epiphanetic (the last made-up of word of this article) moment! Sadly, it’s more along the lines of Captain Renault’s exclamation to Rick (Humphrey Bogart) in the movie Casablanca: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”. You can click the preceding link and see the 20 second sound byte / video for yourself!

** In our deprived upbringing, and with the world having been a much bigger stranger place, and with only having our Midwest educations to rely on in those younger days (where made-up words and run-on sentences were standard), we called (and still call) worn-out or beat-up things ratty, not tatty. And what is weirdly coincidental about all that is when we typed ratty into a dictionary online (just wanting to be sure we weren’t using another made-up word), 2 of the definitions that came up were of course “shabby, untidy or in bad condition” and “resembling or characteristic of a rat: his ratty eyes glittered“. What a crazy close thought to all this. Seriously, are we the only ones here who smell a rat?*****

*** Highfalutin is a real word! It’s stuff like pretentious, affected, bombastic, and pompous.

**** Coty bought the newspaper Le Figaro in 1922 and turned it into a virulent anti-semitic rag sheet. Then in 1928 he started the newspaper L’Ami du peuple (The Friend of the People), a low priced scandal sheet in which for one very small example he railed against Jewish Bankers calling their behavior inhuman and rapacious. Coty was actually found guilty in court in 1933 for libeling Jewish war veterans groups in France.

***** “I smell a rat”, is basically the same as the phrase “something about this smells fishy”. It means you think something is wrong.

UPDATE 2 of 2 – August 9, 2017: The seller has changed the listing to remove the claim of R. Lalique from the title and also the claim of 100 years old. Here is a link to a picture of the original listing.

Original Listing

You may have to use the zoom function of your browser (or whatever program opens images for you) to get the cached image to expand in the window if it does not appear full size. After clicking on the link to the item, a new window will open with the cached image in it. On a Mac, just click on the image and see if that expands it. If not, press the apple key and click on the cached image in your browser window. On a PC, hold down the alt key while clicking on the cached image. END OF UPDATE 2 of 2

R. Lalique Pink Vase Collectors: This is your chance! The Pink Acanthes Vase has appeared!

June 18th, 2017

Unbelievable really, when you consider the odds. In our lifetimes the mythical pink glass R. Lalique Acanthes Vase has appeared for sale. Mind boggling the long shot chance of this happening, and right under our noses at one of the world’s major auction houses.

Acanthus Vase Highly SuspiciousThe vase went unsold as Lot 61288 at Heritage Auctions in their June 10-12 Fine & Decorative Arts sale in Dallas. Against a seemingly giveaway estimate of only $800 – $1200 for this rarity, it failed to ignite the crazy bidding war one might expect of such a rare colored vase. Perhaps the fact that we didn’t list it in the Worldwide Auctions Section here at RLalique.com caused it to be passed over, we don’t know, it’s just such a mystery.

But God knows Heritage certainly wasn’t hiding it. Here is the title of the lot listing:

An Unfinished R. Lalique Acanthes Frosted Pink Glass Vase, circa 1921
11-1/4 inches high (28.6 cm)
M p. 417, No. 902.

For whatever reason it just slipped thru everyone’s fingers.

But just when you thought an incredible opportunity has fallen away, do not despair. The Lalique Gods have smiled on all you Pinkos* and given you a 2nd chance to fill in that gaping hole in your otherwise complete collection of the pink vases of Rene Lalique.

Yes friends the pink wonder is back as a post-auction offering at the following link:

Pink Vase

For only $500 all-in (and apparently you can even make a lower offer), you can hitch a ride on the pink frenzy and take your collection to new heights!

And for any doubters out there, like one of our great volunteers that contacted the auction house directly to question if it’s too good to be true, here is the reply by a representative of Heritage Auctions:

“Thanks for your input on this and I am already aware. My experience with Lalique suggests this is as catalogued, despite being not of Lalique standard, unsigned and atypical in many ways. I would be happy to hear conclusive findings that is was not made by Lalique, for educational purposes.

Respectfully,

VP
Heritage Auctions”

Note: We intentionally omitted the name of the VP of Heritage.

So, what we have from the VP are things seemingly turned on their heads**.

We recall the opening line in the famous poem by the great Elizabeth Barrett-Browning:

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

1. A vase that is not of Lalique standard.
2. A vase that is unsigned.
3,4,5,6 ……. A vase that is atypical in MANY ways.
Note: Numbering, caps and emphasis added by us.

Acanthus Vase Highly SuspiciousWe cannot know the extent of the MANY ways the VP had in mind. We would take a stab at the color, the apparent poor quality of the decoration, the all-over frosting, and the neck. But in-hand who knows what other loving thoughts might be added to the list.

All this brings us of course to our continuing caution to typical collectors (as opposed to extremely knowledgeable and sophisticated collectors), that we strongly recommend you avoid unsigned and undocumented items. Here the piece is unsigned and it does not match the documentation. And there are other “atypical” characteristics as well. What is the point in hoping you found the (not) hidden treasure? And do you (or your heirs) really want to have to re-tell whatever the story is on the unsigned etc. item when it comes time to sell? There is a ton of great R. Lalique out there, the overwhelming majority is both signed and documented.

And of course, here we see the judgment of the market. This R. Lalique Unfinished blah blah blah could not be sold at under $1000 at a major auction house, and now sits at $500 hoping for sale. Note that according to the Heritage website you only have until June 26th to avail yourself of the opportunity.

You might also check the Acanthes Vase on the Copies and Close Page here at RLalique.com. What you’ll find is that if you can’t resist the pink vase, there are many more similar opportunities out there with a variety of “atypical” characteristics including some other great rarely seen colors that you can add to your collection!

And we would be remiss if we failed to mention that there was another item advertised as R. Lalique in the same sale as the this vase, an item that did sell at the auction. We will simply link to the item for your information.

To summarize, we think you can stay in the pink*** by letting the really smart people**** fight for over this vase.

* Pinkos (also Pinkoes) is primarily an American word usually used to derogatorily describe in politics left-wing thinkers and communists. But while a person might conclude that an admirer of this vase is not thinking right (hence they could be thinking left), we really only used the word because it kind of rolls off the tongue flowing with the theme of this article, and not to make any kind of political statement. 🙂

** “Turn on its head” is an expression about causing a radical or opposite change in something from how it used to be, or claiming the opposite of what is. The history teacher told the student “Your version of things has turned history on its head!”. Basically, if it’s on its head, it’s upside down.

*** Before 1600, in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, we hear Mercutio say to Romeo: “Nay, I am the very pinck of curtesie”. In that time it was an expression used to denote the best or the pinnacle of something. The meaning is thought to have evolved from the popularity of pink flowers to generally mean the best of something. The phrase and meaning has continued evolving since that time to primarily refer to one’s feeling good or health, and “in the pink” is a phrase still used today. Consider this from Inimitable Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse in 1923: “‘I am in excellent health, I thank you. And you?’ ‘In the pink. Just been over to America.'”

**** With a hat tip to Orwell and Keating, we build on their expressions by opining: “Some ideas are so wrongheaded and ridiculous that only really smart people can believe them”.

R. Lalique Solana Collection At Rago Saturday May 20th!

May 17th, 2017

Post-Sale Update:

Of the 115 lots that crossed the auction block, 112 sold for a take-up rate of nearly 98%. High seller was the very first lot, the dark Amber Tortues Vase that made $25,000 all-in (all results will be on the same basis unless stated otherwise). Tied for 2nd place high seller were the red Poissons Vase that got $18,750 and the Terpsichore Vase in clear and frosted that also made $18,750. Tied for 4th place were 3 vases that each made $17,500: a great looking dark amber Languedoc Vase, the yellow Ceylan Vase, and the frosted and patinated Salmonides Vase. So basically 6 vases made the top 5 🙂

Against a total estimate range of $277,700 to $405,650, the hammer price total exceeded the total high estimate, hitting $470,125. The all-in total was $587,656. The average total sale price per lot was about $5250.

It’s typical in many R. Lalique sales that the top 1 to 3 items can account for 25% to 50% of the sale total, lifting all the average prices as well, but masking a low take-up rate and/or a weak breadth of sale. Obviously that was not the case here, as the strong offering of colored and other vases showed strength across the board with the high selling lot accounting for just over 4% of the sale total.

It was another highly successful sale for the great Rene Lalique and for Rago, and a pretty good day for the consignor.

End of Post-Sale Update.

An old collection long in storage of 115 items including nearly 40 colored vases will be offered at auction on Saturday May 20th, 2017 at the saleroom of Rago Auction House in idyllic Lambertville New Jersey.

R. Lalique Milan VaseThe lots feature a huge group of mainly larger colored vases, and an assortment of other attractive items. Of the 115 offerings, all but 20 are vases. Among the 20 non-vase lots are 4 clocks, a couple of statues (Thais in amber, Suzanne in opalescent), the iconic Masques Decanter and other various items such as the set of 6 Six Figurines Shot Glasses.

But with the incredible assortment of vases, the collection hits the very heart of the collecting field in all shapes, sizes and colors. Just a look at the first four lots previews the colored vase story: Dark Amber Tortues Vase, Blue Courges Vase, Red Poissons Vase, Green Formose Vase! And the non-colored vase offerings are highly compelling on their own to include the great Salmonides Vase, the Quatre Groupes De Lezards Vase, and good looking clear and frosted Sauterelles Vase that is complemented by the blue and green colored vase offerings of the same model.

Obviously finding the right lots is the number one consideration when bidding at auction. But also consider how the sale is being conducted:

Estimates appear purposefully low to ensure a maximum sales rate, and at World Headquarters we have been told the consignor wants everything sold.

Condition reports follow the lot descriptions in the online catalogue.

Rago guarantees its condition reports.

R. Lalique Archers VaseYou also have the fact that Rago has sold more R. Lalique through it’s saleroom than almost any other auction house during the last couple of decades, including many of the biggest auction house names in the world! Their experience and success is the big reason sellers of R. Lalique from all over the world find their way to Lambertville. And their reputation and the way they do business has obviously given confidence to an incredible number of R. Lalique buyers over the years.

The collection looks like a rare chance to obtain some of the standout models of the great Rene Lalique at reasonable prices with the kind of sale terms and confidence you’ve come to expect from the historic Rago R. Lalique sales.

Here is a link to the main sale listing here at RLalique.com with contact information: R. Lalique Solana Collection May 20, 2017. And you’ll find the entire sale catalogue HERE!

R. Lalique Ashtray Ecstasy At Woolley & Wallis

October 7th, 2016

October 18th will be a date to remember in R. Lalique Ashtray History. Likely the best collection of commercial ashtrays ever to appear at auction together will offered in over 100 ashtray lots! And there are over 30 other non-ashtray R. Lalique lots as well that by themselves would make a nice sale of the works of Rene Lalique.

We decided to let the pictures speak for themselves, not just for the individual pieces, but also for the ashtray collection as a whole. Note that a couple of the pictured items are of unknown age and a few lots have multiple items where one or more are modern crystal pieces. And only the ashtrays are shown.

So check it out. A Trianon Ashtray? You see one or two of those per decade. Or the seldom seen Belier Ashtray? Color and rarities abound: blue this and opalescent amber and green that. Of course for those readers not bored by details, here’s a link to download the catalogue listing for all the R. Lalique Lots with most all the riffraff* removed.

And of course the auction’s listing from the Worldwide Auctions Section can be found HERE!

Your man at the sale is Michael Jeffrey: +44 01722 424505 / mj@woolleyandwallis.co.uk.

* Riffraff is usually used to refer to the rabble, the mob or the lower classes as viewed from “above” of course. The word comes from the Middle English riffe raffe (one and all). Of course in modern times the riffraff are just called “The Deplorables” (count this writer in). Riffraff has also come to mean trash or rubbish; groups of objects not just groups of people. So we mean to say (tongue in cheek of course), if it’s not R. Lalique, well what else would you call it? 🙂

 

R. Lalique Ecureuil Ashtray R. Lalique Ecureuil Opalescent Ashtray R. Lalique Canard Opalescent Ashtray R. Lalique Souris Opalescent Ashtray R. Lalique Chien Opalescent Ashtray R. Lalique Pelican Opalescent Ashtray R. Lalique Clos Sainte-Odile Ashtray R. Lalique Jeane Lanvin Ashtray R. Lalique Dahlia et Papillon Ashtray R. Lalique Souris Gray Ashtray R. Lalique Renard Topaz Ashtray R. Lalique Chien Topaz Ashtray R. Lalique Dindon Gray Ashtray R. Lalique Dindon Gray Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Canard Gray Ashtray R. Lalique Moineau Topaz Ashtray R. Lalique Moineau Clear Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Statuette De La Fontaine Ashtray R. Lalique Athletes Ashtray R. Lalique Naiade Clear Glass Ashtray And A Modern Reproduction R. Lalique Chien Yellow Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Ecureuil Amber Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Souris Yellow Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Moineau Yellow Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Lapin Yellow Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Dindon Yellow Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Renard Yellow Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Dindon Amber Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Canard Yellow Ashtray Lalique Caravelle Glass Ashtray Of Unknown Age R. Lalique Soucis Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Statuette De la Fontaine Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Chevre Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Bressan Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Souris Green Opalescent Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Chien Green Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Moineau Green Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Canard Green Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Dindon Green Ashtray R. Lalique Renard Green Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Soucis Opalescent Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Alaska Opalescent Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Lapin Opalescent Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Moineau Opalescent Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Deux Colombes Opalescent Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Dindon Opalescent Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Renard Opalescent Ashtray R. Lalique Archers Black Glass and Frosted Ashtrays R. Lalique Trianon Ashtray R. Lalique Soudan Ashtray With Modern Crystal Ashtray And Cigarette Holder R. Lalique Colmar Ashtray R. Lalique Eglantines, Verese and Alice Ashtrays R. Lalique Sumatra Ashtray With Three Modern Ashtrays R. Lalique Alice Ashtray Ashtray And Vezelay Ashtray R. Lalique Medicis Opalescent Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Vezelay Opalescent Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Feuilles Opalescent Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Antheor Ashtray R. Lalique Antheor Yellow Amber Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Serpent Opalescent Ashtray R. Lalique Deux Sirenes Opalescent Ashtray R. Lalique Grenade Ashtray R. Lalique Irene Ashtray R. Lalique Jamaique Ashtrays R. Lalique Dahlia Ashtray R. Lalique Simone Ashtray R. Lalique Louise Ashtrays R. Lalique Louise Glass Ashtrays R. Lalique Grenade Glass Ashtrays R. Lalique Tabago Glass Ashtrays R. Lalique Fauvettes Glass Ashtrays R. Lalique Vezelay Amber Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Rapace Blue Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Naiade Blue Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Feuilles Blue Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Deux Zephyrs Blue Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Irene Green Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Ecureuil Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Muguet Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Rapace and Pinson Glass Ashtrays R. Lalique Renard Clear Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Deux Colombes Clear Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Pinson Clear And Frosted Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Canard Clear And Frosted Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Pelican Clear And Frosted Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Caravelle Clear And Frosted Glass Ashtray With A Modern Crystal Reproduction R. Lalique Deux Colombes Clear And Frosted Glass Ashtray Along With An R. Lalique Pinsons Menu Holder R. Lalique Muguet Clear And Frosted Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Lapin Ashtray R. Lalique Dindon Clear Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Rapace Clear And Frosted Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Alaska Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Chien Clear Glass Ashtray R. Lalique Belier Clear Glass Ashtray And Box R. Lalique Sainte-Odile Ashtrays With A Modern Crystal Ashtray R. Lalique Berthe Glass Ashtrays, Nicole Ashtray, And Two Dahlia Ashtrays R. Lalique Anna Ashtrays And A Marguerites Ashtray R. Lalique Bluets Ashtrays R. Lalique Eglantines Ashtray And Extinguisher / Eteignoir R. Lalique Faune Ashtray R. Lalique Dahlia Clear Glass Ashtrays R. Lalique Deux Zephyrs Ashtrays RLalique.com Placeholder ImageRLalique.com Placeholder ImageRLalique.com Placeholder ImageRLalique.com Placeholder Image

R. Lalique Medusa And Serpent Ring Makes A World Record $322,000!

October 1st, 2016

R. Lalique Medusa And Serpent Ring

The whole Medusa And Serpent thing is a bit of a misnomer. In Greek mythology, Medusa was a winged Gorgon (one of three sisters) that had snakes for hair. People who looked at her turned to stone. It really should just be Medusa Ring and you can infer the whole serpent thing.

R. Lalique Medusa And Serpent Ring Opposing ViewsOf course the hero Perseus beheaded Medusa and even then her head was known to continue to turn those who looked at it to stone. Apparently the wings weren’t part of the stone effect*.

Even though the Greeks gave it a whole new name, I’ll bet a few of you readers know exactly what this whole Gorgon thing is all about. In modern times many people just call it “mother-in-law”.

OK, getting to our story, some incredible R. Lalique Jewelry has appeared with the Medusa theme, including the great Elizabeth Taylor Burton Pendant in 2014 that made over $550,000 at auction in New York. That pendant had a couple of snakes and a drop pearl around a dark masque.

The ring has but one snake with enameled scales that extend to the shank, and which shows a bit more dramatically surrounding a dark blue-green glass masque. 18 carat gold, enamel and glass!

When the Sotheby’s jewelry expert wrote us here at World Headquarters about the listing of the ring on the website, the only comment was “This is one of the most exceptional rings I have ever seen by Lalique”.

Apparently at least two bidders agreed!

R. Lalique Medusa And Serpent Ring Snake Head Close-UpWhen the hammer came down on September 22nd in New York at their “Important Jewels” sale, against an estimate of $15,000 – $20,000, the ring without “Jewels”, “Important” or otherwise, made $322,000 including the buyer’s premium.

That made it the 5th highest selling lot for the day, and obviously the only “Jewel” without one.

Just for comparison, the four pieces that went higher contained:
1. A 24 carat sapphire and 9 carats of diamonds;
2. A 10 carat diamond;
3. A 10 carat diamond;
4. Three items containing a total of (get ready) 264.9 carats of yellow sapphires including one that weighed almost 85 carats alone, 33 carats of blue sapphires, and 49 carats of diamonds!

Rene Lalique of course was not selling jewels. He was creating art. Over 70 years after his death, out of over 200 “Important” auction lots on a pleasant afternoon in New York, the art did pretty good. Émile Gallé would be smiling**.

It’s a new world record price for an R. Lalique Ring at auction. And not a bad day for the great Rene Lalique.

R. Lalique Medusa And Serpent Ring Face Close-Up

*   The Medusa stone effect should not be confused with the modern day stoner effect, where stoners sometimes try to fly off bridges without wings to no good effect!

** Émile Gallé called Rene Lalique “The inventor of modern Jewelry!”

R. Lalique Silver Rhinoceros Beetles Chalice Sells for $235,000!

October 19th, 2015

R. Lalique Silver Chalice Decorated With Rhinoceros Beetles” title=In the 1989 movie The Last Crusade starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, while facing a life or death choice among a table full of chalices with just one chance to identify the legendary Holy Grail and save his father, Jones passes over all the ornate goblets and settles on the plainest Jane* of the lot.

Making his choice he famously exclaims That’s the cup of a carpenter.**

Well, he would have taken a pass on October 15th at the Fauvre Paris Auction House, where an amazingly simple, elegant and incredibly unique goblet by Rene Lalique appeared at auction with a restrained pre-sale estimate of €40,000 – €60,000.

The 6 and 1/4 inch goblet featured a stylized repeating intertwined thin leaves motif silver openwork frame with rhinoceros beetles highlighted by blue and black enamel, all surrounding blown in opalescent glass. In addition it had a well worked base and a pretty cool beetle mark on the underside.

It was classic Rene Lalique, devoid of expensive gems, and having nothing in common with the ornate bejeweled chalices so long in fashion among the upper classes and royalty of the period.

It was art plain and simple, in the great tradition of Lalique’s unique metalwork and jewelry, for which Emile Galle named Lalique “the inventor of modern jewelry”.

Making great objects as art, using materials only for what they bring to the piece, and not for their intrinsic value, Lalique was able to call forth pictures in his mind, and bring them to fruition in a way that his contemporaries could not imagine. Rhinoceros beetles as the design highlight of a great chalice?***

The chalice was created during the period 1895 to 1897. It was exhibited at the l’Exposition Universelle de Paris in 1900, which was the groundbreaking appearance for the jewelry and unique objects of Rene Lalique. It was again shown at the Salon de 1902, section Arts Décoratifs in Paris where it was acquired and then descended to the consignor at the auction.

Obviously notwithstanding the lack of jewels or excessive highly worked precious metals, Lot 77 was not the cup of a carpenter. It was the cup of an artistic genius and highly accomplished jeweler.

Today, the phrase Holy Grail is not just used to describe the cup of Christ or other alternate objects.

R. Lalique Silver Chalice Decorated With Rhinoceros Beetles: Beetle Mark On Underside” title=It’s also come to mean something you want very much; something of great significance that’s very important; or something that is difficult to accomplish or achieve.****

The Chalice had one condition problem. The blown in opalescent glass was severely damaged (though reasonably stable) as shown in the last photo here. That did not deter the roughly dozen serious bidders that competed from across the globe for the chance to own the great object of desire.

From one end of North America to the other, and from the UK to the edge of Europe and beyond, the auctioneer Cedric Melado heard from phone bidders competing with strong left bids and room bidders to make the acquisition. Bid amounts quickly left the pre-sale estimate behind and one by one the competitors withdrew until only a Frenchman in the room remained the last man standing.

He outlasted all the international interest and won the day with a final all-in bid of €206,250 (or about $235,000).

The new owner has at least one thing in common with Indiana Jones; they both chose wisely.

Kudos both to the auction house and to the expert Amélie Marcilhac. The auction house and expert got the sale information and extensive lot information out in a timely manner, and responded to inquiries immediately. And of course, they got the attention of RLalique.com. Getting all necessary information and getting questions answered was quick, easy, and professionally managed. Our experience shows that top notch service and complete information encourages confidence in bidders. The sale of this chalice was a good example of how to do it right.

R. Lalique Silver Chalice Decorated With Rhinoceros Beetles Cracked Damaged Glass” title=Of course a good day for the auction house and their expert, and a great day for the great Rene Lalique.

For additional information, see this Chalice’s auction page here at RLalique.com.

* A plain Jane is an ordinary looking or average girl or woman. It has also come to mean any ordinary looking object.

** Holy Grail Object: A cup, plate, stone, etc. of too many legends and connections to recount here. But what Harrison Ford did in the movie, was cement a connection in much of the modern public mind between the legend of the Holy Grail and the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper, the Holy Chalice. That connection is but one of many stories and explanations that have developed over time.

*** Rhinoceros Beetles: Maybe they reminded him of his mother-in-law.

**** Holy Grail Expression: For example, a cure for all cancers would be the holy grail for many medical researchers.

Rago Comes With Great R. Lalique: The Tradition Continues!

October 11th, 2015

R. Lalique Elephants Bowl

When you think about auction houses around the world that handle large amounts of R. Lalique, you naturally think first of the 4 big companies that claim to have the highest total dollar sales. They all conduct auctions in multiple locations and they all get a substantial amount of R. Lalique.

But what you might not know, is that that the No. 5 leading auction house for R. Lalique items doesn’t have a salesroom in Paris, or London, or New York. Nope! And it’s not L.A. or Chicago either.

R. Lalique Cluny Vase In Topaz Glass With Bronze HandlesFor the No. 5 you’d want to take a trip to a former ferry location on the Delaware River just a stone’s throw from Pennsylvania. It’s a small town in a rural area that in the early 1800’s was named, in a longstanding American tradition, after a politician in same year it got its first post office! Well, 200 years later, there is still only one post office.

And while the town’s population seemed like it was going to break the 4000 persons ceiling in 1990 when it reached over 3900 residents, it still has not been able to do so even 25 years later.

To be fair, we keep calling it a town but it is a city; one of the smallest cities in the United States. And contrary to what might come to mind when the geography challenged neophytes that rely heavily on stereotypes might understandably think when they hear “New Jersey”, Lambertville is not Newark. Not even close.

Lambertville is a great quiet, artsy, quaint, antique haunt, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. When you throw in a surprising selection of unique restaurants and some amazing bed-and-breakfast lodgings, you have the makings of a very pleasant long-weekend only an hour and a half outside of New York City.

And getting to the point of our story, if you are an R. Lalique collector, well it can be really pleasant. Because Lambertville is home to the Rago Arts And Auction Center, likely the world’s No. 5 auction house seller of R. Lalique over the last 10 to 15 years. Rago has sold an average of around 200 R. Lalique pieces per year over that time frame.

On October 16th, 2015 Rago will add to their great R. Lalique history with a near 80 lot offering of a wonderful looking single owner collection.**

R. Lalique Six Tetes DecanterAbout 50 of the lots are vases, and about 30 of those vases are colored vases.

The biggest pre-sale estimate belongs to Lot 1, a topaz glass bronze handled Cluny Vase estimated at $80,000 – $100,000. The colored vase selection includes several Perruches, several Ronces, and 2 each of Monnaie Du Papes and Formoses.

For non-colored glass vases there is the seldom seen Los Angeles Vase and an enameled Antilopes Vase, as well as many others.

There are also some non-vase rarities including an Elephants Bowl ($12,000 – $16,000), a Caravelle Decoration ($65,000 – $80,000), and a Normandie Lamp ($6,000 – $8,000).

You can see all the lots in the catalogue online HERE!

Three great things about this sale jump out from the catalogue. First, overall the pieces look great. Second, the selection of items in the sale is exactly the marketable kind of items that many collectors are looking for today. And third, in the main*** the estimates appear very reasonable. It doesn’t look like they’re starting out at top dollar and hoping to move up from there. It appears they plan to sell the stuff.

Those three points are further enhanced by the fact that Rago states that they guarantee the condition reports that you will find online linked from every lot in the sale. If something looks good you can read the guaranteed condition report right there.

Frank Maraschiello, a former Director at Bonhams in New York City, has recently affiliated with Rago. A lot of the staff at Rago has handled a bunch of R. Lalique over the years, and Frank has seen a decent amount as well. He can be reached through the main phone number for the auction house: (609) 397-9374.

When you talk to Frank about the pieces of interest, also ask him about the guarantee of the condition reports. But remember, satisfy yourself first. Do your homework first. The guarantee is a great bonus, but it’s just that, a bonus. If they mess-up, and then you mess-up, you have another backstop. A backstop you should not be expecting to need because you did your homework!

With the great knowledge and experience of the Rago staff; the great looking selection, the reasonable estimates, and the continuing good market for R. Lalique, it has all the makings of another successful Rago sale, and another great day for the great Rene Lalique.

** Well there are actually two joint owners listed in the catalogue. But for “offering” purposes and assumedly some others, they are considered to be one. 🙂

*** “In the main” means “for the most part”.

R. Lalique Plumes De Paon Bowl In Blue Glass

R. Lalique Cire Perdue Vase Appears At Auction Online!

October 10th, 2015

R. Lalique Cire Perdue Vase Branches De Mures Formant Deux AnsesCire Perdue Vases don’t come up for auction very often. Usually just a few a year. And to say they don’t usually appear at the online auction websites such as Ebay would be an understatement. But a great looking Cire Perdue did just that this week when it appeared from a Wisconsin seller (with over 18,000 positive feedbacks) that had purchased it at an estate goods shop.

The starting price was $999 with no reserve.

You can see the online auction HERE!

The new arrival is the vase Branches De Mures Formant Deux Anses. The vase has been unknown in modern times, likely purchased back in the day and not having come back to market. It appears in the Catalogue Raisonne only as a drawing.

The mold number 193 and the year it was made 1920 both properly appear on the underside in the glass as 193-20 and match the information in the drawing of the vase.

The vase features a wonderful blackberries motif and is represented by the seller to be basically in original condition, save minor fleabite type stuff with no cracks or chips. Obviously there are manufacturing imperfections caused by the nature of the process used to create the great Cire Perdue.

The copious photos included in the auction listing appear to confirm the condition description.

We were alerted to the offering around an hour after it appeared online, and immediately posted the vase in the Worldwide Auctions Section here at RLalique.com.

There is also a close-up picture in the highlight photos at the top of the auction page with a text link to take you straight to that listing and save having to scroll through all the other listings that are on that page (82 as of this writing).

The vase is 6 and 1/4 inches tall and a bit over 4 inches wide at its widest point.

Several bidders and interested parties have contacted World Headquarters to talk about the vase.

Judging from the level of chatter (with possibly some educated surmise thrown in), it seems that the vase should do quite well.

R. Lalique Cire Perdue Vase Branches De Mures Formant Deux Anses Underside Showing Signature And Other MarkingsOf course as usual it will likely be a bit of a nailbiter** at the end as the hoped-for pre-arranged automated bids come in (or not) with seconds to go.

Additional information about Cire Perdue pieces, including an explanation of how they are made, as well as links to all areas of the website that might be informative on the subject, can be found in the Cire Perdue Section of the biography of Rene Lalique!

UPDATE 10-18-15: The vase sold for $65,100. Four different contenders had bids in at $45,000 or more.

**A nailbiter (or nail biter) is a tense or anxious situation, which is why many people chew on their nails to begin with.

Medically speaking, the habit of nail-biting is referred to as onychophagy. So if you bite your nails in public, you can rest assured that medically trained passersby may very well be referring to you in a smarmy manner as an onychophager, a word we just made up but seems right and it could even be a word.

And if all this is not bad enough, you might as well know that the American Psychiatric Association classifies nailbiters as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and words like “pathological” have often been used in conjunction with nail-biting behavior.

Basically it’s literally, figuratively, and literarily, about as close as you can come to wearing your bad habits on your sleeve (reaching back over 500 years to Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello – “But I will wear my heart on my sleeve”).

R. Lalique At Christie’s South Kensington: Strong Results!

June 24th, 2015

Christie’s June 16th semi-annual sale of R. Lalique added to what has been a long string of twice yearly solid to stellar performances stretching back for some time. The sale made a premium inclusive* £584,375/$911,625** of which £570,000/$889,000 was for the 91 sold R. Lalique lots, or an average of approximately £6264/$9800 for the R. Lalique.

R. Lalique Firebird Oiseau De Feu Centerpiece Missing Original Base

As is more often the case than not, most of the offered lots were vases (70 of the 128 R. Lalique lots***), and they took up the better part of the high sellers after the top spot. That honor went to the rare model Source De La Fontaine Statue that sold as Lot 50 for £30,000/$47,000.

R. Lalique Quatre Masques Vase With Handle” title=This shows that the sale had good depth when looked at by prices achieved, as no single lot accounted for even 6% of the sale total.

The next top four prices were all vases (save one item that tied for 5th place) as follows:

2. Lot 67 Perruches Vase Cased White Opalescent £23,750/$37,000
3. Lot 44 Perruches Vase Cased Red £22,500/$35,000
4. Lot 09 Quatre Masques Vase with handle £21,250/$33,000
5. TIE Lot 01 Serpent Vase with heavy patina £20,000/$31,000
5. TIE Lot 06 Firebird Decoration without the original base £20,000/$31,000

The sold percentage by lots was 98/137 or 71.5% overall, and 91/128 or 71% for the R. Lalique.

The opalescent Perruches Vase was a strong price. But one other sale item deserving of special mention was Lot 7, a clear glass Chamois Vase Model No. 1075 shown below.

This would typically be about a £500/$800 vase on a good day.

But with red staining and enamel it made £13,125/$20,500. Ignoring the fact that if the vase were red glass it may not have made that kind of number, somebody got themselves about $20,000 of red paint and enamel (P&E)!

We can’t say for sure if the applied coloring was original or not because we never handled the vase.

R. Lalique Chamois Vase With Red Enamel And Red PatinaHowever we can say without hesitation that with the high price paid for the P&E, we’ll undoubtedly be seeing more P&E vases with wonderful colors in the future.

That wry**** observation aside, once again Joy McCall and her great staff came through with a good selection of items including a lot of colored glass vases. Their presentation was top notch, the customer service was high level, and the promotion was thorough. The result was another good day for Christie’s and another great day for R. Lalique.

* All sale figures used are premium inclusive.

** All dollar amounts are based on the estimate of $1.56 per British Pound and are rounded.

*** 2 of the R. Lalique lots were only partly R. Lalique.

**** “Wry” is dry and sometimes ironic humor. Consider this from actor Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer talking to a bad guy on the American T.V. Series 24 – “The only reason that you’re conscious right now is because I don’t want to carry you.” Of course he might not have been joking. Interestingly, Kiefer’s full name is Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland. Aspirations of royalty? His dad is the great Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, who is kindly remembered for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the original 1970 movie Mash. Of course 45 years later, Donald is most famous for his role in the Hunger Games movies. However for true aficionados of mindless entertainment (count this writer all-in for that), his most important and lifetime achievement role (think Charlton Heston as Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 movie The Ten Commandments) was in the 1978 National Lampoon movie Animal House. Most people I talk to (an admittedly and curiously narrow group) have seen that movie at least a dozen times.

Bammako Vase Thrift Shop Purchase – A Story of R. Lalique Goodwill

April 11th, 2015

We get a ton of incoming email inquiries here at World Headquarters. One came in recently with the following subject line:

Possible Bammako vase purchased at Goodwill for $5.99!

R. Lalique Bammako Vase Found At Goodwill for $5.99R. Lalique Bammako Vase Signature: Found At Goodwill for $5.99The buyer of the vase was checking with us to see if the vase was authentic, and provided the following information:

I had it for two weeks before I looked for the maker’s mark. It is 18 cm.

The purchase was made based on looks and price. The buyer did not know it was the work of Rene Lalique.

How did the owner of the $5.99 purchase even find out the name? That’s easy. Here’s the typical scenario:

You don’t know anything about R. Lalique or Rene Lalique.

You find, inherit, or otherwise acquire a vase with an R. Lalique signature on the bottom. You type R. Lalique Vase into Google and see what comes up.

Hopefully your top result will be the main Vases Page in the Rene Lalique Catalogue here at RLalique.com. You click on that result and scroll through the photos of over 270 different vase models to find the one that matches your vase. The name of the vase is right under the picture, and in one click you are on the model page for that specific vase where you get just about all the information you might ever want to know.

The two photos shown here were included with the email. They tell the whole story. You can judge for yourself how we responded.

Rene Lalique at the Corning Museum: Enchanted By Glass Exhibition

May 20th, 2014

Rene Lalique Enchanted By Glass Exhibition At The Corning Museum View Inside The Exhbition

Almost a decade before the birth of Rene Lalique, in a small but burgeoning town a few miles north of Boston, a not quite 40 year old Amory Houghton got in his mind to get in the glass making business. He started with a share in one small local glass company and later acquired other glassmakers. 13 years later, in 1864 Houghton took over the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company in Brooklyn New York. Even with the help of his two sons, the Brooklyn business was financially unstable. And of course the fire was a big problem too. But along came an inspired banker from the small town of Corning New York who convinced the family (naturally money was involved) to move their business to Corning.

Martin-Pecheurs Sur Fond De Roseaux Cire Perdue Vase By Rene LaliqueThe newly renamed Corning Flint Glass Works was up and operating in 1868, but by 1870 had gone broke. Fortuitously Houghton’s two sons were able to get the business back (sans Houghton Sr.), and succeeded in getting the company on a firmer financial footing, thanks to a small number of products such as colored signal lights for railroads!*

Through the years and plenty of ups and downs, the company has had an amazing run through American history. It worked with Edison on his glass for the light bulb, and for Steve Jobs it developed the glass screens for the iPhone. It created the glass for Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) and invented Pyrex. It made the mirror for the Mount Palomar observatory and supplied the glass for the primary mirror in the Hubble Space Telescope. And when responding to a 1960’s era request from the British Post Office for a better and more reliable transmission material, it created the optical fiber that has revolutionized communications. And this is just a small sample of the highlights!

Martin-Pecheurs Et Roseaux Model For A Vase By Rene LaliqueCorning has high tech, high talent, and very low turnover. They are so heavy on innovation and invention, you get the feeling that when a company needs a glass problem solved and approaches Corning, that more often than not a Corning guy in the room says, “We’ve got something on the shelf (from 1, 2, 10, or 20 years ago) we can make work for that.”

At Corning’s Sullivan Park Research Center, they obtain something in the neighborhood of 25 patents a month as Corning spends around 9% of all revenue for R&D.

But the company is also strong in community and social works. One such undertaking was conceived to help celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary: the establishment of the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG) in 1951.

Bishop Birds And Pearl Pendant By Rene LaliqueThe museum is an independent and not-for-profit organization whose mission it to tell about and keep alive the history and the art of glass. In addition to being an operating museum visited by something like 400,000 people per year, it also holds seminars, classes, demonstrations, workshops, and lectures. It has everything from glassmaking to glass breaking demonstrations, and museum visitors can literally make their own glass as part of their experience at the Corning. On top of all that, the museum is active in both scientific research and publishing on a wide variety of glass related topics.

All in all, the museum is nearing 50,000 different glass objects in its collection that span roughly 35 centuries of glassmaking.

Sarah Bernhardt Medal Created By Rene Lalique in 1896 For Party Guests With Each Medal Have A Personalized Inscription On The Reverse - This Medal For Author Gustav GeoffroyAlso part of the museum is the Rakow research library (named after significant benefactors of the museum), the leading research library on glass anywhere in the world. The library has an extensive collection of original period materials on all aspects of glass and glassmaking. Of note is that the collection includes some great original materials related to Rene Lalique (yes, we’re getting to that guy soon:) some of which previously resided right here at World Headquarters! Of course, these are but a small part of the over 2000 documents relating to Lalique’s glass production housed at the Rakow.

Of the tens of thousand of objects at the Corning, until recently only about 200 were directly related to Rene Lalique. Over half of those were acquired in the early 1980’s, comprising rare models and prototypes (work pieces) which had been kept together by a Rene Lalique et Cie factory supervisor from the period.

Lalique Dealer And Collector Standford Steppa Business Card FrontBut in 2011, Stanford and Elaine Steppa, New Jersey residents with a longtime involvement in the works of the great Lalique, donated about 400 items to the museum. Most of the items were commercial production pieces, which by their numbers sampled the largest part of the gamut, in time and types, of Lalique’s commercial works. And there were also a few amazing rare unique and nearly unique items as well.

So now with around 600 pieces representing everything from the conception to the process to the results, the reference material to back stop it all, and the ability to borrow objects to fill in a random blank or two**; suddenly the story appears in the totality of the materials and objects.

Rene Lalique Enchanted By Glass Exhibition At The Corning Museum View Inside The Exhbition Showing Amber Serpent and Green Ferriers Vases In Foreground

Suddenly, it’s not a good looking glass vase from 1922; it’s the story of the artist and his design development and influences (the swans on the pond or the birds in the trees at the country house). It’s how the glass thing got started (the jewelry, the bottles), how it was industrialized (the models, the patents), how the art was conceived (the drawings) and with what means and what steps (the work pieces) the final object was created. Suddenly, what we call a story, they call an exhibition!

It’s the visual and referential story of Rene Lalique, told one piece at a time through about 200 objects, and amazing period reference material. It’s “Rene Lalique: Enchanted by Glass” at the Corning.

The exhibition is already up and open (as of Saturday May 17th) and will continue through January 4th, 2015.

Athlete Et Feuillages Panel For The Wanamaker Store In Philadelphia 1932 By Rene LaliqueOur takeway*** from an in-depth interview with the exhibition curator Kelley Jo Elliot**** can be boiled to down to one overriding message. The purpose of the exhibition is to tell the story. From the Cire Perdue Vase, to tell how he did it and how it came to be. From the 1893 exhibition medal, to tell what his goals were, what was important to him, and how he was trying to achieve his aims. From the round green glass invitation medallion, to show his technique and his touch. And from the iconic commercial R. Lalique items such as the Serpent Vase, the Tourbillons Vase, or the Suzanne Statue, to be able to explain in the context of Lalique, his world and his history, how these wonderful art glass pieces were developed.

To help put it all in perspective the exhibition is organized in a couple of ways, including by timeline. So the visitor can see the development of Lalique from unique jewelry all the way to the later big architectural pieces; which would include by the way, the amazing 1932 figural panel from the Wanamaker’s store in Philadelphia.

The museum is located in the Finger Lakes***** region of New York State. It’s 4 or 5 hours drive from NYC, and about the same from Washington D.C.. From Niagara Falls it’s about 3 hours. The closest decent size city is Ithaca, home to Cornell University. And there is small regional airport (Elmira/Corning) that is only about a 15 minute drive (paid shuttle available) to the museum that has flights from Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Orlando.

The exhibition is included as part of the general museum visitor charge. The museum is open 7 days a week from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM during the summer, but after Labor Day the closing time moves up to 5:00 PM. Further details can be found at the museum website.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum has also published a thoughtful and informative nearly 400 page reference book about Rene Lalique and the Corning, containing hundreds of photos of both commercial and unique pieces, and pictures of a large number of original models. The book is coincidentally titled “Rene Lalique Enchanted by Glass”. Shown here from the book, in addition to a photo of the dust jacket, is a photo of the extremely rare non-commercial Levrier Car Mascot created as a gift for the Prince of Wales in 1929, next to a photo of an original plaster model for that mascot. Who else but the Corning can tell the story like this? The book is out of print, but check the library here on the site or write us directly about getting you one.

Rene Lalique Enchanted By Glass Book

Our final thoughts:

This is not a show where a bunch of brightly colored vases, some valuable jewelry and a few unique objects are tossed together and the exhibitor is just saying, “Hey, look at this, didn’t this guy make cool stuff”. The Corning is fortunately situated with its collection and resources to bring this stuff to life, and to put it in perspective and context historically, educationally, artistically and industrially. It’s a great opportunity for anyone interested in the Rene Lalique and his works. And heck, it’s just an added kicker that the Finger Lakes region of New York is a great place to visit in the summertime!

* Persistence paid off for the for the Houghton clan. The 1957 Forbes Magazine list of the 76 richest Americans listed both Amory Houghton and Arthur A. Houghton Jr. at between 100 million and 200 million dollars each. In today’s dollars that’s in the billion range (give or take a few hundred million of course).

** Included in the exhibition are 14 unique items (designs, objects, jewelry) on loan from other museums. The lenders are the Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon Portugal; the Chazen in Madison Wisconsin; The Walters in Baltimore Maryland, the VMFA in Richmond Virginia; the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.; and the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris, France. All are linked from our page listing over 80 museums around the world containing the works of Rene Lalique.

*** The “takeway” is not a quote. It’s more like the gist, the central point, or the main idea as we took it.

Rene Lalique Levrier Car Mascot And Original Plaster Model By Rene Lalique For The Prince Of Wales 1929 Non-Commercial

**** Kelley is the Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at the Corning. She has a Fine Art Bachelors Degree and a Masters in Decorative Arts History and has worked with a range of museums. She has a strong interest and background in the works of Rene Lalique and in the French artistic glass and jewelry milieu from which he emerged.

***** The Finger Lakes region of New York State is so named because of the pattern of a string of long narrow (and narrowing) lakes which run down from below the New York State Thruway (AKA I-90 or the Thomas E Dewey Thruway) roughly bounded by I-390 in the west and I-81 in the east; kind of in-between but below Rochester and Syracuse. The lakes look like fingers on a map.

 
 

Copyright 2014 by City Concession Co. of Arizona Inc. We are not affiliated with anyone using part or all of the name Rene Lalique. We are a gathering place for R. Lalique enthusiasts.