Sotheby’s Paris presents a collection of magnificent Lalique jewelry never seen at auction

The Art Nouveau movement broke new ground, with rebellious arrangements of precious and non-precious metals combined with unusual colored gemstones and suggestive rather than realistic depictions of nature. Sultry, ethereal and at times disturbing versions of the female form were also a recurring theme. Intricately detailed pieces display daring mixtures of gemstones; the materials were unorthodox and daring for fine jewelry; and several different types of enamelling have been used in innovative designs. Many masters of French jewelry turned their attention to Art Nouveau, where the movement began, but none of these jewelry designers were as influential as René Lalique who pioneered an entirely new style with his visionary masterpieces and his ingenuity in skill and application. He helped initiate the radical combination of materials, sensual lines and details of Art Nouveau, and changed the way fine jewelry was viewed. Her ability to move back and forth between exuberant colourways and abstract shapes captured the cycles of nature, from floral designs to more eerie depictions of bats and wasps, or female heads with flowing hair, their upper torsos sticking out. insect wings. All this makes him a virtuoso of movement.

In an unprecedented event, Sotheby’s Paris will offer a rare museum-quality collection of pieces from nearly 40 lots by René Lalique, all presented at auction for the first time on December 17, 2021.

The collection was put together by the esthete Claude H. Sorbac. Sotheby’s experts note that “the collection traces the career of the ingenious designer and key figure in Art Nouveau through 39 exceptional pieces, including several works purchased from the heirs of Lalique. Together, the pieces pay a dazzling tribute to the creativity of René Lalique as well as to the discerning eye of the collector.

A letter from Sobrac’s daughter says:

Lalique has taken hold of you: has subjugated you, fascinated, subjugated you. Every day you told us about him. Under his enchantment, your life would change ”.

And he did. When Sorbac begins to collect antiques, is interested in Art Nouveau. According to Sotheby’s “It wasn’t long before his passion for Lalique pieces became his main interest, which he devoted to for decades – going to flea markets and auctions to seek out the best of the best. . Thus, his collection sums up the artist’s know-how, his many sources of inspiration and traces collaborations with other creators, such as Sarah Bernhardt and Edmond Rostand. The works of its comprehensive collection have been presented in several international exhibitions, in prestigious institutions such as the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, the Smithsonian Institute, the Kyoto National Museum and the Kremlin in Moscow.

Here’s a look at some of the pieces in the fascinating collection with descriptions provided by Sotheby’s:

Diadem “Pensées”, circa 1904-1905 (estimate: 150,000-300,000 €)

With this piece, a note of Sorbac poses what makes the piece so special: “’Thought’ is not a random choice; in French, the term means both “thought” and “thought”. In the language of flowers, when a man gives thoughts to a woman, he thinks of her. A husband or a lover who offered this headband to his sweetheart therefore expressed a message of tenderness, affection and loyalty. The woman who wore it proudly claimed the same feelings and associations. ”

“Legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt was one of her muses and patrons. She carries her creations on stage and in life, opening the doors to the Parisian literary and artistic scene. The profile of the actress appears in several creations of Lalique, as in the “Woman’s Face and Wisteria” pendant necklace in enamel and gold (estimate: 100,000 – 200,000 €).

Necklace in glass, enamel and diamond, “Frogs”, circa 1902-1903 (estimate: € 400,000 – € 600,000)

“The story of the creation of this necklace has a literary source: that of the frog woman, inspired by the ballet created by Jean Lorrain, La Princesse au Sabbat, staged in 1898 for Les Folies Bergères and set to music by Louis Ganne. It tells the story of Ileseus, a vain princess who lived in a palace adorned with mirrors and frogs, whose vanity was punished with a curse. In this necklace, circa 1902-1903, René Lalique returns to the theme of the frog with a style that calls for molded glass and the stylization he favored at the turn of the 20th century.

” VSlarge hantecler necklace in leather, enamel, glass and citrine (estimate: € 150,000-200,000)

This embroidered leather necklace, adorned with enamel cockerels and studded with molded glass mulberry trees, was designed for the role of Sarah Bernhardt in Edmond Rostand Chantecler’s play, in the style of a cape buckle in the shape of two Chanticleers, or roosters. Rostand wrote the majestic work for eight years. Finalized in 1910, it included more than 70 characters and required 195 costumes.

Other impressive pieces include:

Comb “Cattleya Orchid”, circa 1903-1905 (estimate: 700,000 – 1,500,000 €)

Comb “Loving swallows”, circa 1905-1906 (estimate: € 400,000-600,000).

“Moth” applied with multicolor cloisonné, circa 1900. East. : 150,000 – 300,000 EUR


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