Lalique glass plate
above: glass plate
with fishes & bubbles
by Rene Lalique.

Lalique bowl Lys
above: "Lys" bowl
by Rene Lalique.

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Lalique glass there is
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is there now click
Lalique Glass

Lalique Glass from the Glass Encyclopedia

Rene Lalique (1860-1945) was a French "art nouveau" jeweler and sculptor who became interested in glass in his 30's and rented his first glassworks at the age of 49 (in 1909) near Fontainbleu in France. Over the next thirty years he became the world's leading art glass designer of the art deco period.

In the 1920's and 30's his work inspired glass-makers around the world, and it has probably been copied more than any other glass designer. His contemporaries in France who produced glass which they advertised as "au style Lalique" included Sabino, Etling, D'Avesn, Genet & Michon, and others. Overseas some of the finest hand-pressed glass made during the 1930's used patterns based blatently on Lalique's designs. Two of the best examples were the Phoenix Art Glass Company's "Sculptured Art Glass", from Pennsylvania and James A Jobling's "Opalique" from England.

Lalique opened his first retail salon in Paris in 1905 selling jewelry and decorative pieces, next door to the Coty perfume premises. Coty comissioned perfume bottles from his friend Lalique, and these commissions soon grew into a thriving glass business for Lalique.

At the Paris Exposition des Art Decoratifs et Industriels (source of the name Art Deco) in 1925 Lalique won several medals and had a whole marquee displaying his glass in the "new style".

In 1925 Lalique established the Verrerie d'Alsace in Winden-sur-Moder, Alsace in France, and the Lalique company has continued at this site into the 2020s.

Lalique glass is a collector's dream. It is ALWAYS marked in or on the glass. There is no such thing as "unmarked Lalique". Also, the glass made during Lalique's lifetime can be easily distinguished from later Lalique because it is marked "R. Lalique" as opposed to the post 1945 mark "Lalique". Some early "cire perdue" pieces were marked with Lalique's thumbprint in the glass.

Rene Lalique's opalescent glass was very popular and commercially successful. It has a very subtle blue colour when light is shining onto the piece, but takes on a beautiful "honey" colour when light shines through it (hold it up to the light). See our page on opalescent glass.

You can still buy new Lalique glass made to many of the original designs, using very high quality crystal glass, both in clear and a limited range of translucent colours. It is expensive but you can find it on display in high class glass departments and stores world-wide. When buying glass marked "Lalique", remember that you may be able to buy the same piece new, and check out the prices.

Most of Lalique's output was uncoloured clear glass, his next most popular colouring being opalescent, and a smaller number of pieces were coloured glass. He produced statues, vases, friezes, perfume bottles, car hood ornaments, lighting panels, and tabel glassward. The books listed below are beautifully illustrated and informative.

Lalique made some stunning glass pieces using the "lost wax" technique, where the original design is made by carving it out of wax. This carved model was used to make a mold (usually in something similar to plaster of Paris) and then the wax was melted out ot the moled (hence lost wax) and hot glass pured in. Normally these molds were destroyed in order to remove the glass, so a "lost wax" piece (in French "cire perdue") is usually unique. Sometimes however, Lalique used the lost wax technique to produce a more permanent reusable mold, because of the fine detail that could be carved into the wax. So not every Lalique "cire perdue" item is unique.

Most of the original Lalique designs were made using the more conventional methods of carving the design into a metal mold and using that mold to make numerous identical pieces. Lalique had improved the technology for making pressed glass (using a "stamping press") to enable him to produce designs with deep and intricate indentations. Some of his vases have patterns about an inch deep. A range of hand-finishing techniques were applied to these pressed glass pieces, including polishing part of the design, applying colour washes, and sand blasting. A display of glass by Rene Lalique can be truly breathtaking!

It is always interesting to see the prices being charged for Lalique glass, and the items being offered for sale. Click on Lalique Glass to see what is available just now.

The Lalique company still makes art glass, and branched out into a range of fashion accessories and perfume in the late 1990's. In 2008 the company was acquired by a Swiss Group Art and Fragrance and in 2010 the Lalique factory was modernised with a new tank furnace for crystal glass. Since then Lalique has added more perfumes, jewellery, furniture, home accessories, even linen to its repertoire, also opening a Lalique Museum (in Wingen-sur-Moder), a five star hotel and gourmet restaurant (Villa Rene Lalique also in Wingen-sur-Moder in France). In 2011 a new division of Lalique was named Lalique Art with the stated aim to share expertise with prominent contemporary artists, foundations and talented designers to create unique and outstanding works of art. The first piece produced was a lost wax creation, Yves Klein's Victoire de Samothrace by Lalique. And so the Lalique tradition lives on.

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Sources and References

Here are some books about lalique glass. Click on any book cover or title to read more about that book.

Rene Lalique Lalique by Lalique Collecting Lalique Lalique by Hodge Lalique book, jewels Essential Lalique Lalique catalogue book Warman's Lalique book Lalique book

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