Archive for the 'M.S. Rau Blog' Category

Master of Glass: Lalique Perfume Bottles

August 7th, 2015 | posted by James Gillis
A graceful scarab beetle scurries around the body of this remarkably rare glass perfume flacon by the famed glassmaker René Lalique

A graceful scarab beetle scurries around the body of this remarkably rare glass perfume flacon by the famed glassmaker René Lalique

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.

An elegant viper wraps itself around this incredible Lalique art glass perfume

An elegant viper wraps itself around this incredible Lalique art glass perfume

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.

Crafted in the Rosace Figurines pattern, this delicate flacon is molded with lithe, elegant maidens on both sides, and is a superb example of Lalique’s sophisticated Art Deco style.

Crafted in the Rosace Figurines pattern, this delicate flacon is molded with lithe, elegant maidens on both sides, and is a superb example of Lalique’s sophisticated Art Deco style.

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.

Dancing nude maidens with flowing floral garlands adorn the bottle

Dancing nude maidens with flowing floral garlands adorn the bottle

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.

Classic and stylish, this enchanting glass perfume bottle was created by the famed glassmaker René Lalique

Classic and stylish, this enchanting glass perfume bottle was created by the famed glassmaker René Lalique

 

 

 

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.

Peridot, Gem of the Sun: August Birthstone

August 4th, 2015 | posted by Peter Hernandez
The enchanting piece is by the legendary artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany & Co.

The enchanting piece is by the legendary artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany & Co.

Finely executed enameling in shades of blue and green fill an exquisite 18k gold filigree design

Finely executed enameling in shades of blue and green fill an exquisite 18k gold filigree design

A truly ancient gemstone that dates back to the Egyptian pharaohs, the peridot is among the most highly desirable colored gemstones in the world. Uniquely light green in color, this gemstone was first mined in the Red Sea on the Isle of Serpents (present day St. John Island), where Egyptian pharaohs prized the magnificent stone, calling it the “gem of the sun.” Ancient Romans were likewise fond of the stone, calling it “the emerald of the evening” due to its radiant green shine in all lighting conditions. Yet, the peridot is also a thoroughly modern stone, experiencing an incredible upsurge in popularity in the 1990s due to a newly discovered mine in Kashmir. For this reason, these verdant beauties are highly prized in in modern jewelry pieces, considered the perfect complement for springtime ensembles.

The 45.60 carat gemstone is bordered by diamonds totaling 1.06 carats

The 45.60 carat gemstone is bordered by diamonds totaling 1.06 carats

 

 

With a color that evokes the lightness of springtime, it is no surprise that the peridot is a popular pick for Art Nouveau designs. Crafted by the legendary artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany & Co., this extraordinary peridot and plique-à-jour enamel necklace is a rare and unique masterpiece of jewelry design. Delicately crafted, the necklace boasts finely executed enameling in shades of blue and green that fill an exquisite filigree design formed from 18k yellow gold. Two perfectly hued green peridots weighing approximately 2.00 carats each accent the enamel, adding the perfect amount of shimmer to this enchanting design.

Weighing an amazing 30.87 carats, this gem is marked by exquisite color and clarity

Weighing an amazing 30.87 carats, this gem is marked by exquisite color and clarity

While peridots can come in a wide range of natural green hues, the most valuable and rare are a vivid, pale green. This 45.60-carat peridot pendant necklace embodies the sparkling green color so prized in this precious stone. Set in an 18K gold setting, this magnificent stone is accented by 117 white diamonds totaling 1.06 carats. Equally stunning is this complementary peridot ring. At 30.87 carats, the dazzling stone is accentuated by 218 diamonds totaling 1.85 carats. As equally monumental in size as meaning, these peridots are sure to please any audience.

Magnificent Meissen: Porcelain Urns

July 27th, 2015 | posted by Susan Lapene
These incredible Meissen porcelain urns depict the themes of Summer and Autumn

These incredible Meissen porcelain urns depict the themes of Summer and Autumn

While the exact details of the development of porcelain are a mystery, its lasting influence and prestige in the realm of the decorative arts remains a constant. Beloved by aristocrats and kings to the bourgeoisie and common man, porcelain has held an integral place in palaces, galleries, museums and homes throughout history. It is the material of the elite, of beauty, and of years of fascination; it remains the definition of versatility, elegance and classic style.

Such grand creations would only have been crafted for Meissen's most affluent clients

Such grand creations would only have been crafted for Meissen’s most affluent clients

Originating in China during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE), porcelain fast became an integral part of Chinese decorative arts. It wasn’t until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE), almost 2000 years later, that Chinese porcelain hit the Western world, when the Chinese export business reached its heights. Western Europe quickly developed a fervor for this fashionable new material, and European craftsman longed to reproduce the popular material.

While experimenting to achieve hard-paste porcelain as magnificent as the Chinese, a small 17th century town called Meissen, located in Germany, set the stage for successful porcelain creation. Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony, imprisoned the alchemist, Johann Friedrich Bottger, in order to use his talents to recreate the formula for hard-paste porcelain. It was upon his success three years later that Bottger was freed. Soon after, the Meissen factory was established, becoming the first European center for hard-paste porcelain. Their products evoked delicacy, elegance, and the highest level of craftsmanship that set the standard for porcelain creation in Europe.

The detailing of each urn is explicit, down to each individual flower petal

The detailing of each urn is explicit, down to each individual flower petal

Of the many different types of porcelain pieces Meissen produced, urns remain among the most important and prestigious. This pair of large Meissen urns exhibit all of the trademarks of the Meissen approach. Standing at a towering 50 1/4” high, these urns are a true hallmark of Meissen design. The base of each urn creates a slate for true craftsmanship; flower stems encircle the surface and foliage is scattered throughout. Atop, the middle of the urn is wrapped in a swirl of colorful applique flowers and symbolic female figures that all protrude from the surface in an extraordinarily realistic manner. Completing each urn is a wild bouquet of different types of flowers and greenery. These highlights emerge from the top, swirling through the mouth of the urn as though blossoming from within. Each urn presents an ideal botanical garden; every aspect is shown in full bloom and strength. From the extraordinary details to the profusion of color throughout, these porcelain urns are truly a work of art.

The Power of the Ruby: July Birthstone

July 21st, 2015 | posted by George Peralta

 

Twelve no-heat Burmese rubies weighing 22.85 carats are the stars of this beautiful bracelet

Twelve no-heat Burmese rubies weighing 22.85 carats are the stars of this beautiful bracelet

Power and desire. The rich crimson red of the Ruby gemstone is said to stir passions and enhance emotions. With their blood-red beauty, people of ancient times believed rubies held the power over life and death. Other cultures deem the stones symbols of wisdom and beauty. One of the most culturally important colored gemstones, the ruby retained its importance with the birth of the western world and has become one of the most sought-after gems on the market. The ruby, with its fine hardness, durability, and luster, is a mark of rarity, importance and paramount quality.

Approximately 9.09 carats of white diamonds accent the rubies

Approximately 9.09 carats of white diamonds accent the rubies

Because rubies can range in color from bright, striking red to darker hues and reddish-browns, there exist different variations of the gemstone. The most rare and valuable of this gemstone is the Burmese ruby. Burma, a Southeast Asian nation, is a location marked by richness in mineral resources, ethnicities, and most importantly: gemstones. Existing as a source of exceptional rubies since 600 AD, the Burmese ruby has a long-standing history in this region. For centuries, Burma has been associated with the world’s finest rubies, though by edict of the King himself, the finest stones were never allowed to leave the kingdom. Due to increasing political unrest, the country closed itself to the world in 1962, further restricting trade and increasing the rarity of these magnificent stones. Burmese rubies are spectacular examples of the most sought after deep, rich red color and are widely considered among the rarest of all gemstones. Because of their coloring, composition, and history, they are simply considered the best.

Natural Burma rubies and sparkling diamonds create a dazzling display in these stunning earrings

Natural Burma rubies and sparkling diamonds create a dazzling display in these stunning earrings

This exceptional coloring marks rarity and importance, and compromises some of the finest rubies in the world. This ladies’ Burma ruby and diamond bracelet is a spectacular example of the vibrant coloring of the rare Burmese stones. Compromised of twelve untreated rubies that total 22.85 carats and 9.09-carats of marquise cut diamonds, this bracelet is truly one of a kind. Set in 18K gold and platinum, the rubies pop and are enhanced by each aspect of the stunning bracelet. It is nearly impossible to find untreated Burmese rubies of this caliber.

A lovely .81-carat untreated Burma ruby displays wonderful color in this stylish ring

A lovely .81-carat untreated Burma ruby displays wonderful color in this stylish ring

Similar to the striking ruby and diamond bracelet, this pair of elegant Burmese earrings displays the coveted “pigeon blood” hue. Used to describe the unique color of the Burmese ruby, the pigeon blood hue is marked by deep crimson tones of the richest level. These earrings total 2.64 carats of rubies that nearly explode against the encirclement of white diamonds. Like the striking crimson color of these earrings, this 0.81 carat Burmese ruby ring is also exceptional in hue and composition. Each set in platinum, these pieces mark some of the most significant Burmese rubies available.

Music for the Soul

July 10th, 2015 | posted by Deborah Choate

It is a treasure, conjuring the purest of sentiments and eliciting the truest and deepest forms of emotion: music. Infinitely provoking and universally compelling, spanning cultures and generations, music is widely enjoyed by all who encounters it. It brings peace to the soul, light to our lives.

Coutan's singular vision is both classical and naturalistic in style

Coutan’s singular vision is both classical and naturalistic in style

Throughout the history of art, artists have sought to join the universal experience of music with the visual arts. One such artist was French sculptor Jules-Felix Coutan, who sought to enhance the public’s interaction with beautiful music through his remarkable sculptural works. His bronze work, Music (1880), in particular, truly exemplifies Coutan’s unique approach. In his characteristic naturalistic style that nods back to Classical taste, Coutan captures the personification of music itself. A striking ninety-two inches compromises this exquisite bronze sculpture of an elegant female figure, torch in one hand and instrument in the other. Graceful in proportion and fluidity, Coutan successfully evokes the essence and spirit of music. Earning international reputation, the works of Coutan are highly revered, and his style left a lasting impression on students following him.

The taking of snuff was a highly regarded social ritual among the European elite

The taking of snuff was a highly regarded social ritual among the European elite

Small, yet powerful, music can also be found in exquisite objets d’art such as this Swiss musical snuff box. Also called “carillons à musique,” these small, portable music boxes were highly coveted among European elite and often served as a sign of status and prestige. Crafted in 1820, this intricately decorated box is covered in ornate gold foliate that speaks to the swirling musical tones that the box creates when opened. This rare objet d’art would have easily fit in a gentleman’s waist pocket.

The box plays 15 1/2” disks and retains the incredible sound quality for which Regina was celebrated

The box plays 15 1/2” disks and retains the incredible sound quality for which Regina was celebrated

 

More monumental in size are the upright music boxes that pre-dated the modern day jukebox. The Regina Music Box Company of New York was one of the foremost successful and creative artistic producers of these mechanically-complex music machines. Carved in all over incredible detail, this Regina oak music box would have served as a pleasant alternative to live music in a home or business. In peaceful melodies, this music box plays up to 15½” discs with the incredible sound quality for which the Regina Company is known. Completing the piece is an exquisite lithograph of the company’s namesake, Regina, under the lid, venerating her as the “Queen of Music.” Set on a beautiful table to complete a room, this statement making rare music box is truly one of a kind.

 

This Art Deco period Orchestrion dates to the very first years of Arburo operations, circa 1928-29

This Art Deco period Orchestrion dates to the very first years of Arburo operations, circa 1928-29

Much larger, though equally inspiring, is the Arburo Orchestrion Organ by Bursens and Roels. Crafted entirely by hand, this Art Deco-style cabinet was once a common fixture in popular, bustling dance halls. Exhibited at the Arburo Centennial Exhibition in 2008, this hand-crafted, made to order piece is unlike any other – no two were ever alike. What is most interesting and unique about this piece, however, is that it incorporates the beauty of stand-alone instruments with the fascinating realm of mechanics. A 168-pipe organ, triangle, drums, and accordion are included within the mechanical system. Once started, electrical power reads perforated music rolls which are then read to control each instrument inside. The organ allowed the musical volume to be clear and loud enough for even the most lively, busy venues. The music produced is extraordinary, a delight to one’s ears. Today, very few examples of these musical marvels exist, especially in the exceptional working condition of this Orchestrion.

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