Lalique revolutionized jewelry and glass design.
March 26, 2007 issue - Around the turn of the 20th century, the French artist, jeweler and glassware artisan René Lalique spent hours studying Japanese plants in the botanical gardens of Paris. Japanese horticulture was in vogue all over Europe, and Lalique labored relentlessly to complete intricate sketches of unfamiliar plants such as hydrangeas and chrysanthemums.
By Amber Haq
His aim: "To create something no one has ever seen before," he wrote.
Now visitors to the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris can witness those wonders. "The Exceptional Jewels of Lalique, 1890-1912" (through July 29) is the largest-ever exhibition of the French master's work, gathering together some 300 pieces from around the world.
Visitors are plunged into a magical universe of color and texture: orchids carved out of opal and jade; Japanese-style hair combs adorned with wasps and Egyptian beetles; bats and cats in lacquered enamel; dog collars embellished with pearls; the soft, fleshy female form metamorphosing into a dragonfly, or couched supine on a bed of moonstone. more
(many of these pieces can be seen regularly at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian.)