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Lepidoptera. Like moths, butterflies are part of this animal order and symbolise transformation, metamorphosis and rebirth. Throughout the centuries, the brightly coloured winged insects with their conspicuous, fluttering flight and their enigmatic, fragile allure have been a popular motif in the visual and literary arts.

Damien Hirst, one of the UK’s most significant and recognised contemporary artists, has featured butterflies repeatedly in his work since the late 1980s as a symbol of both the beauty and fragility of life, thus making it one of his most distinctive and enduring representations.

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It therefore comes as no surprise that this year, world-renowned French crystal and glass manufacturer Lalique have collaborated with Hirst on a limited edition series of crystal panels representing the butterfly.

Lalique, with its 130-year heritage of craftsmanship and mastery of crystal, is exploring the modern possibilities of this form with exceptional talents, such as Hirst, whilst still preserving the iconic and timeless Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences embodied in René Lalique’s original Flora and Fauna pieces; the master was known to take pleasure from strolling in the country to observe the flight of insects.

Crystals being notoriously difficult to work with, these masterpieces once again demonstrate the boundless artistry of Lalique’s artisans who rose to the challenge of interpreting the artist’s vision, resulting in a visual tour de force showcasing a confluence of contemporary styles and traditional craftsmanship.

A-Gent of Style at the launch of Eternal, London February 2015

A-Gent of Style at the launch of Eternal, London February 2015

This exquisite collection, aptly coined ‘Eternal’, is available in three series – LoveHope and Beauty – each depicting a different butterfly in twelve colourways. As opposed to the more florid and multifarious specimens of his past work, Hirst’s monochromatic butterflies in this edition remain simple – even serene – in their depiction, only to be counterbalanced by the striking, colourful backgrounds of the panels. Each panel is numbered and comes with the artist’s signature engraved in the bottom right-hand corner, and a signed edition certificate.

Versatility is another appeal here; the rectangular-shaped panels can be displayed in numerous ways including mounted on an easel, framed and hung across a wall partition, or inset into a wall, the latter option offering the effect of stained-glass windows, which in turn give a quasi-religious dimension to Hirst’s work. “I love that the panels have an almost religious feel”, the artist explains. “They make you think of stained glass windows which I’ve always adored, it’s the way they manage to capture colour and light so completely and then throw it back out at you.” Whilst butterflies might look static and lifeless in art that verges on taxidermy, Hirst adds that “I’ve always loved that they look identical in life and in death, but when the light shines through these panels, it feels like they’re brought back to life in some way.”


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“I’ve always loved crystal”, continues the iconoclastic Englishman. “It’s both beautiful and difficult to work with, so I’m really excited about the project. It’s amazing being able to use all the expert craftsmanship and incredible history of Lalique for something new, and the results are beyond all my expectations”.

The Lalique store, London

The Lalique store, London, February 2015

Silvio Denz, Chairman and CEO of Lalique, states: “An artist of immeasurable talent and worldwide renown, Hirst perfectly embodies his generation of artists, unafraid to embark on experiments, calling into question the strict definitions of art and what constitutes a work of art. Eternal, the magnificent result of this collaboration, takes as its motif the butterfly – close to the hearts of René Lalique and Damien Hirst, who shared a sense of the magical and paradoxical beauty of the butterfly, ephemeral and eternal at the same time.”

The Lalique store, London

The Lalique store, London, February 2015

The collaboration was first unveiled at Lalique’s stand at Maison&Objet in Paris in January and at their Paris store shortly after (11 rue Royale, 75008).

The collaboration is now on show at Lalique’s London boutique (47 Conduit Street, W1S 2YP). For more information, please visit Lalique’s website.

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Lalique Interior Design Studio

Lalique Interior Design Studio

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Lalique Interior Design Studio.

Lalique Interior Design Studio

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– Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates, copyright Damien Hirst and Lalique 2015 –

One comment

  • Colinissima

    Mesmerising. Match made in the garden of Eden

    April 20, 2015

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