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Rene Lalique Exhibition: Lalique News and Travelogue! RLalique.com Does San Francisco!

Rene Lalique Jewelry Serpent BroochRene Lalique Jewelry and Unique R Lalique Objects from 1900 and earlier are the focus of the Lalique Exhibition (and a couple of other guys stuff as well) titled Artistic Luxury, which we have written about several times previously in this R Lalique Blog (Lalique Exhibitions). This great Lalique Exhibition started out in Cleveland at the world class Cleveland Museum of Art, and moved earlier this year to the Legion of Honor Museum near the Bay in San Francisco where it will remain on view until May 31st.

What a great opportunity on so many levels. First and foremost was the chance to see some amazing unique R.Lalique objects that we may never have a chance to see again. And conveniently, we have been promising the whole staff here at RLalique.com some well earned all expense paid travel, for the great work on the website. Even more conveniently, San Francisco is but a short flight from the Arizona desert, but a world away in too many ways to recount fully in this article. A great vibrant City with hustle and bustle, crowds, traffic, noise, high rise buildings, and a really big body of water close at hand. None of these things are associated too often with our usual surroundings; the Sonoran Desert. All things considered, we had a trifecta of great excuses to shut things down for a week, and head to the hills (literally and figuratively).

So, RLalique.com journeyed en masse and incognito (that’s right – incognito – so no press conferences, no scholarly lectures, no private tours, no autographs, no glad handing of Museum personnel, no local TV appearances, and no photos of our wonderful staff, 🙂 for a great tourist visit to the exhibition.

Rene Lalique World Headquarters West View

We encamped in toto at the first great hotel in the heart of the City that was able to set aside, in spite of our last minute request, the floor of view rooms we needed (see photo from the floor window). And in moments, RLalique.com World Headquarters West was rolling. With the flip of just one electronic switch, the mountain of Lalique information from thousands of places around the globe that daily pours into the desert oasis that we usually call home, was re-routed across hill and valley, freeway, lake, and mountain, and dumped onto the top floor of our new temporary lodgings. And of course, in between 10 miles a day of walking, 50 cable car rides, a highlight tour of San Francisco Steakhouses (well, the tour was one stop per day at the dinner hour and was self conducted), as well as Muir Woods, Napa, Sonoma, Fisherman’s Wharf, Knob Hill, Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury (yes, there is still the smell of marijuana in the street),

Haight - Ashbury Street Sign

Golden Gate Park (who says the homeless have no home… they are at home – in Golden Gate Park, and we spent a lot more time talking to the people in the park than to anyone else on the trip with the exception of a nice couple from Devon England discussed below), the Japanese Gardens (green tea with sweet and spicy treats in the finest outdoor garden atmosphere), Castro Street and Alcatraz (expected to see some people we know there, but turns out they closed the prison a while back and don’t have any criminals there anymore), and other activities that are but a San Francisco foggy memory in the blur of an insane tourist adventure, we managed to spend several hours at the exhibition. And yes, that is the longest run-on sentence we could construct.

Golden Gate Bridge From Alcatraz Ferry

Of course we didn’t forget that we walked the Golden Gate Bridge one end to the other and back, our group joined by a honeymooning couple from Devon England that we met while hanging out on the pier. Above is a photo of Mr. Incognito himself, contemplating the distant Golden Gate Bridge from his perch on the Alcatraz Ferry in San Francisco Bay while pondering the upcoming traverse!

Rene Lalique Seals at Fishermans Wharf

A small side note to the Fisherman’s Wharf visit. Our newest intern, a refugee from an east coast institution of higher learning (higher on what we have know idea), smarmily whispered to another staff member upon arrival at the Wharf: “Now I know why we’re here, those must be Lalique Seals!” Will Rogers famously remarked that it takes most people at least five years to get over a college education. NI (newest intern) might take a bit longer!

The view from Rene Lailque World Headquarters West in San Francisco Which brings us to the first mistake of trip. Landing in typical San Francisco bad weather on a Tuesday morning (see the accompanying photo of the Golden Gate Bridge – OH! You can’t see the bridge? That’s because it’s totally foggy, a rather persistent condition apparently in SF, and to be fair to the weather, maybe cold, wet and foggy is considered good weather up there, don’t really know), we headed over to the exhibition after a great lunch in a small neighborhood establishment in one of the run down areas of town where the locals are great and the food is better, AND we were the only tourists in sight. Of course, in a re-enactment of a longstanding San Francisco tradition, it took longer to find parking spaces for the RLalique.com convoy than to eat lunch. But it was worth it. The sun broke thru the clouds for 7 minutes and 46 seconds as we enjoyed sidewalk dining (well, technically we were eating off of tables and not the actual sidewalk) at its finest. Seriously, a few small tables, great food and great service. Sorry, but the restaurant is so small we cannot give out the name here, as with our extensive world wide audience, the place would be over-run in days, all the locals and regulars would be crowded out, and when the excitement died down, the owners would have a bunch of mad locals that found somewhere else to hang out and our endorsement would be a curse instead of a blessing. And most importantly, when we make our way back up north for SF II, sequel to the movie, at some point in the next decade or two, the restaurant might not be there anymore for our encore appearance if all of the above occurred! So we promised the owners that we would not spill the beans.

Rene Lalique Exhabition Ticket

Anyway, off to the Legion of Honor Museum we go, the entire RLalique.com caravan sans police escort (think incognito), making only one detour along the way to peruse the lodgings at some upscale little housing development along the water. We arrive in the drizzle of course, only to find out that Tuesday is FREE admittance day to the museum. That is the good news. The bad news was a bit bigger. First, FREE museum does not mean FREE exhibition! Apparently, the basement of the museum is not part of the FREE area. OK, the $10 “Special Exhibition” charge was obviously no big deal and was half what we expected to spend on each ticket, BUT it turns out that to save the regular museum charge of $10, which would have been on top of the Special Exhibition charge of $10, a lot of San Francisco people go to the Exhibition on FREE Tuesday to pay half the normal total price of admission. So it was crowded. Which is a good thing in the big R Lalique picture, but which caused some minor inconvenience in viewing each of the great items close up and in the preferred casual and relaxed manner. And to think they had other people there! Hmmmmmm! At first, we thought the crowd was there because word of our visit had leaked, and the staff opinion is still split 50/50 about whether a leak occurred or not. It’s still one of the many great unknowns of the trip.

Rene Lalique Exhabition Ticket Notwithstanding the mob scene and the true reasons for the huge crowd, it was a great assemblage of amazing R.Lalique objects, which half the staff feels is probably why there was mob scene! And here is a photo of your humble correspondent in deep thought over this whole perplexing “Leak or Lalique” situation (as it came to be known by our security staff), while sitting in front of the Legion of Honor Entrance!

Ignoring those other guys whose stuff was on exhibit, the Rene Lalique items were GREAT! What can you say about the apparently unique black glass scarab vase with the rust red coating lent to the exhibition by the Musee des Art Decoratifs in Paris, which acquired it directly from Rene Lalique in 1911 for 1000 French Francs? Which was sitting right there next to the unique Grenouilles Et Nenuphars Vase recently acquired by the Cleveland Museum for it’s permanent collection (having sold at Christies New York in December 2006 on a very cold New York day)!

Rene Lalique Serpents Sugar Bowl Unique Silver and Glass Object

The coolest and most striking Rene Lalique object was the “sugar bowl” owned by the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon. The body is constructed of writhing serpents, with glass blown inside the open serpent framework, and sporting an incorporated lid. The entire staff of RLalique.com unanimously voted this to be the one object most needed to compliment our World Headquarters Tea Set. No sugar, no tea you know. Of course we would purchase this great Lalique unique object in two seconds if it came up for sale, which is easy to say in the most braggadocio fashion because the Gulbenkian doesn’t sell it’s works of Rene Lalique! 🙂

Rene Lalique Jewlery The Lalique Jewelry (yes, and the Lalique jewellery) was fantastic as well, and there was a lot more Rene Lalique unique jewelry than unique objects. Amazing items, delicate in a way that Lalique’s contemporaries did not match, and stylish and refined in a way no one has ever equaled! Fabulous all ’round. And we all still want to meet a beautiful woman wearing a large and unique Rene Lalique ‘bodice ornament”.

Rene Lalique Hair Comb Muguet Lilly-of-the-Valley If you have time before the 31st, it’s a wonderful trip and a great opportunity to view some of the finest output of the great Rene Lalique. Where else do you see the lily of the valley at the museum and at the Japanese Garden on the same day?Japanese Garden Muguet Lilly-of-the-Valley

And of course, if you want to purchase the catalogue book of the Exhibition, the amazing 372 page complete hardback version with great color illustrations and some highly insightful commentary, just visit the Rene Lalique Books Library right here at RLalique.com and check it out, along with the other fabulous Rene Lalique exhibition books and catalogues we have assembled and made available to you from around the world.

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