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Glass & Lighting Glass & Lighting RENE LALIQUE(1860 - 1945)
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A UNIQUE SUITE OF SIX MASSIVE LUSTRE 'MOINEAUX I' CEILING LIGHTS, in polished, opalescent and frosted glass, sepia tinted satine patine, each with a surrounding frieze in high naturalistic relief of four pairs of sparrows perched in twisting boughs amongst bunches of curling leaves, each base moulded with 36 cog wheel tooth lugs in opalescent relief, original interior metal frame for ceiling attachment, fitted for electricity, each approximately 12000 grams, glass frieze, with sand-blasted stencil mark ‘R. LALIQUE. FRANCE’ [MARCILHAC 2298 and p.188] 1932.
Lalique’s fame in America was at its peak in the 1930s, when these lustres were produced. His reputation was further enhanced by a retrospective exhibition of his glass held in 1933 at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. The ‘Moineaux I’ sparrow lustre design was created on 21 January 1931 and first appeared in Lalique’s catalogue for 1932. The individual lustres are highly sought after. A suite of six is extremely rare
Lalique’s granddaughter, Marie-Claude, said of Rene Lalique "my genius grandfather, he elevated the decorative arts to the level of the fine arts and is recognized today as an undisputed master".
Acquired by the present owners from Vuppatur House in Chennai in the late 1980's subsequent to the demolition of this famous mansion in a prominent locality in Chennai
Rene Jules Lalique 1860-1945
Lalique was the consummate designer, whose art was perfectly conceived and realised, permitting the introduction of a really modern and living artistic note into the decoration of private rooms. This arrangement satisfied a thirst for elegance, novelty, comfort and luxury.
Beginning with his exquisite jewellery designs of the 1890s, by the turn of the century his name was synonymous with excellent craftsmanship, experimentation and innovation. He became one of the central figures in the flowering of the decorative arts movement in France In the early years of the twentieth century, with the florid, sensuous, free flowing line of Art Nouveau and later, with the more measured, rectilinear style of Art Deco. The first world war interrupted his output but, by 1921, his designs had spread around the world; the USA, Great Britain, South America, as well as continental Europe. His patrons included royalty, industrialists, perfumiers.
He began experimenting with glass, which he used in his early jewellery designs. He introduced the press-moulding of glass, as in the present suite, in 1921. In this technique, molten glass is poured directly into a steel mould from a melting pot, at which point it is forcibly compressed. When the glass cools it retracts a little. Then the mould is opened. This method allows for extremely sharp detail in relief decoration and it imparts heavier walls to hollow pieces and greater overall thickness to solid sculptures. He had introduced colour briefly in 1912 – 14 and again in the 1920s and 1930s. Metallic Oxides were added to the basic mixture before firing; using uranium for yellow. The wash, or patine, for staining or colouring pieces, was a type of enamel, a natural extension of the enamels he had used as a goldsmith.
Lalique used the popular image of the endearing house sparrow as individual ornaments, with or without bases, frequently stained with sienna (sepia) patines, in a variety of poses; pecking, preening, feeding. Gabriel Mourey said that Lalique ‘gave life to the “menagerie” which, it appears to me, was quite worth of a place in the glass-cases of the collectors … amongst the winged tribute, let us mention the presence of pigeons and sparrows, plump gluttons, so well reproduced, so life like that one would expect them to coo and chirp’.
Lalique’s greatest contribution to interior lighting were the impressive lustres he created for the tall ceilings of large rooms. These were avidly sought after by wealthy connoisseurs with great houses. He was concerned with great houses. He was concerned with all aspects of electrical lighting. His lustres were designed to be hung from, or affixed to, ceilings. They were designed to diffuse and project light through the glass, thus making the best use of its translucence and achieving a soft, warm radiance. In the present set, the recesses are strongly frosted to make relief strokes more prominent, with the sparrows and leaves acting as a lens, concentrating the light into bright patches that contrast with the surrounding soft glow. The ceiling was also used as a reflector in order to create a two-tone effect, providing the perfect touch for many fashionable interiors. Lalique’s genius was in being able to produce these designs in polished, opalescent and coloured glass that dazzled the eye when exposed to light. He oversaw the design of every piece bearing his name, hence the high quality and impeccable design of his entire body of work.
Gabriel Mourey, Lalique’s Glassware, 1926
Patricia Bayer & Mark Waller, The Art of Rene Lalique, 1988
Felix Marcilhae, Rene Lalique 1860-1945 Maitre-Verrier, 1989