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Rose Mary
By Rosemary McKittrick
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VINTAGE LALIQUE GLASS TREASURES HEAT UP CHRISTIE'S SALE

VINTAGE LALIQUE GLASS TREASURES HEAT UP CHRISTIE'S SALE
Vase; Bacchantes; opalescent glass; underside has molded R. LALIQUE and etched FRANCE; 9 3/4 inches high; $54,000. Photo courtesy of Christie's
Some artists understand the mediums in which they work so well they take them to the next level. That’s exactly what Rene Lalique did in France with pressed glass in the early-20th century. He turned simple pressed-glass into an art form.

Lalique used some of the most powerful Art Deco images like the female face and form and immortalized each in pressed and mold-blown glass. Great design was the result in vases, bowls, perfume bottles, clocks and car mascots.

Quality. Definition. Elegance. That’s Lalique.

Nowadays, Lalique is one of the most desirable collectibles. Rene Lalique managed to take a cold medium like glass and make it soft and warm. A master’s touch. That’s why the name Lalique is synonymous with excellence.

By the time Lalique was 30, he was one of the leading Art Nouveau jewelry designers in France. He created pieces for the nobility as well as starlets like Sarah Bernhardt. By the 1880s, he was using glass in his jewelry design. Experimentation led Lalique to pressed glassware.

With mass-production techniques, he created designs for more than 200 decorative vases and 150 bowls. His lighter, thinner vases were formed by blowing glass into a mold.

Lalique also created over 250 perfume bottles for Coty, Worth, and many other French perfumers. He produced clear, frosted, and opalescent glass. He also made glass in colors like grey, amber, yellow, green, blue, black and plum.

At first, Lalique’s pieces were made in the flowing, romantic, Art Nouveau style and then later, in the streamlined Art Deco style.

At the height of production, Lalique employed over 600 workers. After his death in 1945, his son Marc reopened his factory. Today it’s run by granddaughter, Marie-Claude.

Condition is everything with any mass-produced glass. With age and use, the definition on Lalique pieces gets weaker. So, early pieces with crisp molding are especially desirable.

Lalique is almost always marked. Whereas, pressed glass is generally unmarked.

The most collectible pieces tend to capture the flavor of a particular decade or trend. Many of the molds were also reused at a later date and don’t carry the same collector interest as the older pieces.

Red, blue, green, and amber are some of the most desirable Lalique colors. Red especially, because it was hard to work with it. Red burned easily in heat and had a tendency to dull.

The same, identical vase can sell for huge differences in price simply based on color. Blue is generally more valuable than amber and red seems to be the hottest.

Most pieces are signed with some variation of “R. Lalique.” After Lalique’s death in 1945, the word “Lalique” was used. Later fakes often include the initial “R.”

On Sept. 9, Christie’s New York featured a selection of vintage Lalique pieces in its 20th century Decorative Art & Design auction. The variety ranged from vases and car mascots to plates, boxes and perfume bottles. Here are some current values for Lalique.

Lalique

Vase; clear glass, green patina; introduced 1921; underside etched R. Lalique France 893; 10 1/2 inches high; $9,000.

Vase; Sylvia; frosted glass with sepia patina; introduced 1929; underside wheel carved R. LALIQUE FRANCE; 9 1/8 inches high; $9,600.

Clock; Sirenes; frosted glass; introduced 1928; 10 3/4 inches high; side wheel carved R. LALIQUE FRANCE; $14,400.

Car mascot; Vitesesse; frosted glass; introduced 1929; edge molded with R. LALIQUE FRANCE; 7 1/4 inches high; $16,800.

Vase; Alicante; cased opalescent; introduced 1927; underside engraved R. Lalique France No.998; 10 inches high; $18,000.

Vase; Bacchantes; opalescent glass; introduced 1927; underside has molded R. LALIQUE and etched FRANCE; 9 3/4 inches high; $54,000.

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