Rene Lalique Art Glass Perfume Bottles

Rene Lalique Art Glass Perfume Bottles

In the late 19th and 20th centuries, perfume was sold in simple containers which were meant to be emptied into more luxurious perfume bottles displayed on the dressing table, but thanks to Lalique’s collaboration with Coty, perfumeries began selling their scents in elegant glass bottles.

Rene Lalique Brief Biography

Rene Lalique (1860-1945) was a master jeweler, but it is not his jewelry for which he is most famous. After a successful career designing jewelry, he began experimenting with glass, and by 1912 had opened a glass showroom in Paris. Within a few years, he was designing glass scent bottles for perfumer Francoise Coty. His small factory near Paris grew inadequate for his growing business, and in 1921, he opened a modern glass production facility in the town of Wingen, in the French region of Alsace. His new factory boasted the latest techniques and technology, some of which was designed by Lalique and his son Marc (1900-1977). His high quality mass produced pieces were created with up to date equipment and decorated via the most sophisticated decoration techniques.

Le Style Lalique

Although mass produced, the key to Lalique’s success (by 1910 or so, Lalique was making bottles for most of the leading perfumeries of Paris) was his exquisite design in the Moderne style that seemed to exemplify speed and elegance. The clean and streamlined forms in the simple shapes of the Art Deco era were beautifully and easily rendered in glass making the medium perfect for the message. Le Style Lalique reflected the latest developments in taste and technology, and so his designs remained fresh and innovative.

Lalique Signature Marks

Almost all Lalique was signed with an etched signature, but these signatures have taken a variety of forms including script and block letter print and are sometimes molded rather than etched. Even the script has variations, so for identification purposes, a good collector’s guide is recommended. As the Lalique factory is still making glass today, the manufacturers’ marks can be used for at least preliminary dating of an object. Rene’s designs say “R. Lalique”, Marc’s use “Lalique France”, and Granddaughter Marie-Claud’s items say “Lalique h France”.

Due to the longtime popularity of Lalique glass, there are plenty of fakes in the marketplace. Some are copies of the more valuable pre-world war II pieces, and are etched with the R. Lalique signature, and some are fantasies, that is, items never made by Lalique, but bearing his signature. Real Lalique is well-designed and features exceptional craftsmanship. This is why it has been sought after by discerning collectors for the better part of a century.

-By p4A Contributing Editor Susan Cramer.

Reference: Miller, Judith; DK Collector Guides: Art Deco, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, c2005

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