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Rene Lalique; Glass Artist

Rene Lalique 1880-1945

Rene Lalique was born a rural 19th century man in a pre-industrialized Europe. It was a time before light bulbs, and telephones, before automobiles and washing machines and electricity. But by the time of his death in 1945 at the dawn of the atomic age, he would have completed two careers spanning two different centuries. In 1900 at the age of 40, he was the most celebrated jeweler in the world and an art nouveau artist and designer of magnificent proportions. But by 1925 at the height of the art deco era he was the most celebrated glassmaker in the world. In between Lalique would leave his contemporaries behind as he turned from creating unique jewelry and objects d'art, to the mass production of innovative and usable art glass. He brought glass into the home of everyday people where it had never been before, and he worked out the industrial techniques to mass produce his useful art glass objects on a scale and cost to complement the spreading industrial revolution and resulting worldwide appetite for his products.

Lalique is remembered for his jewelry and his glass. But his greatest accomplishments were born in his recognition of the changing world in which he lived. His life spanned the entire period from the Civil War to World War II and as his world changed, so did Lalique. His amazing turn of careers and fields put him in the forefront of the new mass production. He was a jeweler, he was a glassmaker, he was an artist. But his great accomplishment was to combine those talents with foresight and innovation to not just serve markets, but to create them. In the process, Lalique would become a world class industrialist with an industrial ability on par with any other of his rich talents and achievements.

 

 

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