Femme libellule ailes ouvertes pendant (Dragonfly woman, spread wings)
Creator: René Lalique
Date: Circa 1898-1900
Materials: Gold, enamel and diamonds
Property of the Lalique Museum
The pendant represents a sylph – a mythological spirit of the air - with the tail of a mermaid and the fine, transparent wings of a damselfly. The choice of the dragonfly figure and interlacing of shapes make it a perfect example of the Art Nouveau style. It is an equally perfect example of René Lalique’s personal inspiration, in which fauna and the female figure were two of the major elements.
René Lalique used the complex plique-à-jour technique for the wings of the Femme libellule ailes ouvertes - a style of enamelling in which transparent enamels are fused into the openings of a metal filigree to produce an effect suggestive of stained glass. To achieve this, enamel powder was placed on a copper base with gold cloisonné work. After firing, the base was dissolved with nitric acid, revealing the transparency of the enamel.
By the way: this was the first piece acquired by the Lalique Museum, in 2002.