Auction: Rare lapel watch by René Lalique

Art Research Paris auction house unveils a beautiful and elegant Art Nouveau collar watch in yellow gold, made by a French master between 1895 and 1900.

By Arthur Friedman

Art Research Paris auction house unveils a beautiful and elegant Art Nouveau collar watch in yellow gold, made by a French master between 1895 and 1900.
© Studio SEBERT

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ERene Lalique (1860-1945), who began his career as a jewelry designer for the Palais-Royal jewelers in Paris in 1880, quickly gained attention for the quality and originality of his designs. forged his work: women, flora and fauna. A jeweler of fine jewelry, he was particularly involved in the 1889 Universal Exhibition as an associate of Vever and Boucheron. An experience that allowed him to see his orders multiply and expand his workshops. “The great revolution carried out by Lalique was to create jewelry not for the richness of the material, but for the art, and to independently resort to all the means of expression, such as the combination of various processes for the treatment of stones, metals and enamels. It becomes exactly the wonderful pulp of opal, pearl or transparent enamels, the fragile and shiny flesh of flowers. The gold of the hair, the coral of the lips, the sapphires of the eyes are no longer empty words thanks to him,” says art critic Léonce Benedicte.

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An artistic and intellectual revolution initiated by René Lalique, the inventor of modern jewelry in 1892. Indeed, this master and esthete of jewelry had a compelling need for independence in his Art Nouveau creations very early. A new artistic expression born in the late 19th century and inspired by nature. However, where many others are holding hands, René Lalique innovates by freeing himself from the aesthetic and academic codes of the time. “It’s a really extraordinary effort that I’ve had to make to completely break away from what I’ve done before. I work tirelessly with the desire to achieve a new result and create something that we have never seen,” Lalique said on the eve of the 1900 World’s Fair.

Dozens of Lalique watches known to date

It is not an insignificant event in the life of the French master that his colored gems, mother-of-pearls and other fine enamels were snatched by celebrities belonging to the Russian, Viennese or French aristocracy, for example, his great friend and actress Sarah Bernhardt. masterpiece: famous Like a breast He was executed in 1897.

The event ensured its consecration and gave René Lalique an opportunity to showcase his collections, which he has been working on for more than a decade and which have been very well received by the public. As his fellow jeweler and friend Henry Weaver put it, “an eager and dense crowd gathered to see his works, which were talked about everywhere. There was heated debate between his admirers and detractors, with exaggerations on both sides. A photograph taken on site, at the René Lalique booth, and published in a magazine in 1901 Art and Decoration also featured a showcase dedicated to Lalique-stamped watch cases. Watch-like pocket watches soon to be auctioned by ARP Auction.

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This is an 18k yellow gold Art Nouveau ladies collar watch, made between 1895 and 1900. It’s decorated with carved and carved oak leaves in double-sided trim, as well as enameled oak over aqua green chandeliers, giving the room an almost aesthetic appeal. transparent view. Indeed, René Lalique used a modern enamel technique called “fenestration enamel” or “vitray enamel”. The process of allowing light to pass through a substance such as stained glass. The method, which dates back to the Middle Ages and was not used after that, was used again in the second half of the 19th century. Thus, from the 1890s onwards, à-jour enamel was taken up by Art Nouveau jewelers and developed to the highest level of perfection, as shown by a watch offered at auction for between 30,000 and 40,000 euros. A reasonable estimate, knowing that only ten watches are known to date, including the pocket model Rhinoceros beetle and trumpet flowers It is kept in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva, as well as two versions of the watch Cones It is kept in the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.

“Jewelry and watchmaking”, 13 December 2022, Art Research Paris, 174, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris.

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