Cygnes et Lotus Pendant
Creator: René Lalique
Date: circa 1898 - 1900)
Materials: gold, enamel
Property of Shai Bandmann and Ronald Ooi
This Art Nouveau pendant is particularly representative of René Lalique’s art.
The swan’s seemingly immobile movement gives it a uniquely indolent grace, earning it a privileged place in Lalique’s art, from the early days when he photographed these majestic creatures sailing in dreamlike fashion over the waters of the lake at Clairefontaine, the property he bought in the forest of Rambouillet in 1898. In an article published in 1900 in the review Art et Décoration, the writer Pol Neveux mentions these swans which, on the pendants, glide majestically […], tearing the shimming waters in the golden evening light, these fabulous swans lead us to the land of legend more surely than the Mediaeval prose of certain subtle contemporaries. Symbols of pride and metamorphosis, the epistemologist Gaston Bachelard saw them as an ersatz of the naked female body. They represent the authorised face of nudity, immaculate yet ostensible whiteness. Swans at least show off their body! He who adores swans, desires the young woman bathing naked in the lake.
By the way: René Lalique always chose his materials to suit what he wanted to portray. For example, he used opaque enamel and relief technique to express dazzling whiteness, obtaining a wave effect with the play of translucent enamel. Plique-à-jour enamel resembles miniature stained glass with light filtering through. Light was the constant that dominated throughout Lalique’s career, the element he never ceased to experiment with in everything he did.