Lalique, René

Lalique, René

Lalique, René, 1860-1945, French jewelery designer and glassmaker whose works are landmarks of arts nouveau and deco, b. Ay; apprenticed to Parisian goldsmith Louis Aucoq at 16; studied École des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (1876-78), Sydenham College, London (1878-80). He set up his own Parisian jewelry studio in 1885, producing sinuously luxurious art nouveau pendants, bracelets, brooches, combs, and other objects of adornment. Lalique often portrayed the female face and form as well as animal and floral motifs, frequently juxtaposing such materials as gold and silver, precious and semiprecious stones, enamel, ivory, and glass. During the 1890s his work became fashionable among the Parisian elite.

In 1907 an interest in glass led him to begin mass-producing elegant molded perfume bottles, which have since become design classics, and in 1921 he founded the Alsace factory that still produces Lalique crystal. He molded (and sometimes pressed) glass, often etched or ornamented in raised relief, into jewelry, vases and bowls, statuary and hood ornaments, and lighting fixtures, windows, architectural elements, and interior designs (notably for the grand salon of the S.S. Normandie), in finishes ranging from the silky frosted glass for which he is best known to clear, opalescent, and colored. His 1920s glass came to epitomize the sleek, sophisticated forms of art deco.

N. M. Dawes, Lalique Glass (1986); M. L. Utt et al., Lalique Perfume Bottles (1990); P. Bayer and M. Waller, The Art of René Lalique (1996); Y. Brunhammer, Jewels of Lalique (1999); J. Hodge, Lalique (1999); W. Warmus, The Essential René Lalique (2003).

René (born again, or reborn, in French) is a very common given name in French-speaking countries. It comes from the Latin name Renatus. René is normally, originally only a masculine name (Renée being the feminine form). But in non-Francophone countries, the habit of giving the name René to both boys and girls is now common. It sometimes surprises French speakers. In addition, both forms are used as surnames (family names), probably as a patronymic.

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