List of exhibit of the month


René Lalique
circa 1900
Pale horn, gold, enamel
Private collection

In the second half of the 20th century, the land of the rising sun was opening up to the rest of the world, and Japanese art was beginning to inspire many European artists, including René Lalique.

The comb is decorated with a mountain landscape and trees at sunrise. The scene is reflected in water, creating a mirror image. In the foreground, a leafless tree anchors and balances the composition.

Horn is one of the innovative materials that René Lalique had begun to use. It had already been used for items such as buttons, but Lalique was the first person to use it for jewellery, in 1896 – mainly buffalo horn from India or South America. It is a very flexible material that can be pressed or twisted under heat, and also dyed.

Lalique used horn for the tree trunk and gold filaments to define the other motifs, inserting coloured enamel into the spaces, using the cloisonné technique.


By the way: the preparatory sketch for this piece is in the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon.


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