The Art Nouveau period introduced a brief but remarkably fashionable style from the early 1890s to about 1910 which captured the moral and artistic freedom of the day. Art Nouveau designers embraced romanticism, naturalism, and femininity, creating emotive pieces of great harmony and beauty. René Lalique’s technical innovations and flamboyant artistry designate him as one of the most celebrated Art Nouveau jewelers and certainly one of the most venerated French jewelers of all time.
Natural Inspirations, Novel Techniques
The Art Nouveau movement drew inspiration from a diverse range of sources and imagery, from the flora and fauna of the natural world to Symbolist poetry and the paintings by Gustav Klimt. Lalique also experimented with unusual materials such as glass and horn to achieve meticulous depictions of nature and female forms. The Art Nouveau Enamel and Diamond Dog Collar is a beautiful illustration of the master’s unrivalled use of enamel and gemstones to create romantic and whimsical scenes.
Lalique adapted special techniques for his craft that enabled him to incorporate Japanese inspired imagery into his designs. His open-backed translucent, or plique-à-jour (open to light) enamel—a high point of technical achievement – was reminiscent of Japanese metalwork.