Renowned for his impeccable artistry in glass design, René Lalique is a legend of his craft. His illustrious career began in 1881 as a designer of stunning jewelry creations, and he eventually took over the workshop of jeweler Jules Destape in Paris. For nearly a decade, Lalique concentrated exlusively on fine jewelry design, but by 1890 the celebrated artisan began his first experiments in designs using glass. Lalique would, by the early 20th century, fully emerge not only as a master of Art Nouveau jewelry, but also an Art Deco master of glass who would irrevocably change the world of glassmaking.
Lalique’s glass items sparkled with natural forms, curvilinear designs, and stylized women. One of his categories, however, propelled his reputation as a talented glass designer into an international sensation: perfume bottles. It is with these spectacular, unique, and remarkable items that Lalique fully explored his brilliance and creativity. As much as Lalique himself, these bottles became stars of glass design; no other object could parallel these extraordinary flacons in creativity or craftsmanship.
While all of Lalique’s perfume bottles evoke a sense of sophistication, and refinement, certain are perfect examples of Lalique’s mastery of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco style. His perfume bottle, “Capricornes,” depicts a graceful scarab beetle wrapped around the body of the bottle. In the Art Nouveau tradition, the flacon utilizes forms from nature to evoke a sense of graceful, natural beauty. This highly desirable pattern is etched onto crisp, clear glass that makes for the ultimate display. Like the motif of the beetle, this “Serpent” perfume bottle depicts a spiraling viper snake around the body of the bottle, whose head forms into the stopper. In the greatest sense of exoticism, this bottle is delicate, yet fiercely powerful.
In addition to depicting natural forms and patterns, many of Lalique’s rare perfume bottles depict the popular Art Nouveau form of woman in nature, or woman as nature.
His “Rosace Figurines” perfume bottle shows enchanting depictions of maidens on each side. Equally eye-catching is the bottle stopper that transpires into two more women. Swirling and elegant, these figures perfectly complement the airy, pale blue of the glass bottle. As a beacon of magnificence and splendor, this exquisite piece is a hallmark of extraordinary glass artistry. Similarly, his exquisite perfume bottle “Troise Groupes de Deux Danseuses” depicts dancing nude maidens with flowing floral garlands. Molded from clear and frosted glass with a delicate bronze patina, this perfume bottle epitomizes the glassmakers enchanting Art Nouveau style.