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2014: The aquatic world of Lalique

From 16 May 2014
To  11 November 2014

A careful observer of living creatures and things, nature was a vivid source of inspiration for René Lalique. He dissected, examined and scrutinised shapes, structures and lines, seeking - and finding - sparks that would fire his imagination. He observed plants and flowers, insects and birds, was fascinated by reptiles and the entire aquatic universe.

Lalique and Nature

This section of the exhibition focuses on the aquatic plants and animals that inspired René Lalique, organised around two themes:
- Underwater flora and fauna such as fish, algae, jellyfish and seahorses
- Creatures that live in and around lakes such as dragonflies, frogs and swans
The aim is to demonstrate the evolution in Lalique’s style, but also his techniques (for example, photos at Clairefontaine shown alongside preparatory sketches and finished works).

The Imaginary World of René Lalique

Here we find nymphs and naiads, mermaids and other half woman-half fish creatures that peopled Lalique’s world through the myths and legends that inspired him. These fabulous female figures take the visitor into the heart of Lalique’s imaginary universe. He equated women with nymphs, elves
or sylphids; he saw them as sisters of Gustave Moreau’s Water Fairy, and as memories of reveries in the forests and by the lakes and rivers of the Champagne region of his childhood. At the turn of the century, all these figures were abundantly present in his jewellery pieces. Mermaids were the
ambassadresses of the aquatic universe in the artist’s glass works, adorning his creations with the grace of their fins and heads of fine, flowing hair.

Lalique the Artist

This space looks at water from all angles, and the way Lalique uses materials and technique to represent the world of water in his art. Lalique loved to represent the reflections and transparency of water in everything he did, whether it be drawings, jewellery or glassware, seeking always the most faithful but also the most unexpected correspondences in his art. In his role of master jeweller, opals, enamel and cire perdue moulded glass were the materials that enabled him to best represent this element of nature. Glass allowed him to play on contrasts of transparency and satin effects, opalescence, bubbles and moulded pearls. The Jet d’Eau (Water jet) wall lamp fits well in this section of the exhibition. It finds its place perfectly alongside works such as the Jet d’Eau mirror and the Danaïdes vase.

Lalique’s Universe

This space welcomes pieces that have deserted the display cabinets and come to life, sometimes in the most unexpected way. Functional objects are transformed by a form of fusion with decorative elements. A table leg may be disguised as algae, or a shoal of fish appear, swimming over a mirror.
These contemporary works are an invitation to dream and imagine, to delve deep into another world.

 

 

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