Today at 2pm, Christie’s South Kensington, London, presents an auction dedicated to the master glass-maker René Lalique. The sale will comprise 138 lots and offer an array of vases – in clear and frosted, opalescent, bold colours and subtle hues – alongside iconic lighting, table wares, scent bottles, clocks and car mascots. Estimates range from just £700 up to £120,000.
The calibre of this sale replete with jewel-like coloured works is a fitting tribute to the extraordinary vision and creativity of the master glass-maker René Lalique who continues to enthrall an international audience of discerning collectors nearly seven decades after his death.
The Lalique brand is synonymous with both quality and artistry and demand for works by this important designer is testament to René Lalique’s legacy. Christie’s has been selling Lalique at auction since specialist Decorative Art & Design sales began in 1971 and has offered more Lalique at auction than any other auction house internationally.
Joy McCall, an authority on Lalique and this sale’s specialist, kindly shared her expertise with A-Gent of Style and explained why this auction will be significant.
This sale is dominated by colour vases, which remain perhaps the most sought after aspect of the market at present. There are a number of designs which we see clients collecting to form sets, for example the Formose vase (lots 130-137) is offered in 8 different colours and the Ronce vase (lots 94-98) in 5 colour versions. The sale also offers vases in rare colours, such as lot 44 in red, lot 46 in amber, lot 47 in red, lot 98 in green and lot 114 in lime-green. It is not necessarily that the design is rare but that it appears in this colour which is remarkable.
One of the earliest items in the sale is lot 9, Quatre Masques vase with handle, which dates from 1911. No one can remember seeing this particular vase appear at auction previously, so it is exciting to make a fresh discovery. A version without a handle has been offered at auction in the past, but this is the first time the Quatre Masques vase has come to auction with a handle, and it is this addition which makes it so rare.
There are also some rare enamelled wares in this sale. Lot 4, Nimroud vase, infrequently appears at auction and lot 7 Chamois vase I have not seen in red before. The background design has a thinner wash of enamel and the animals are then highlighted in a strong red enamel.
Car mascots remain a highly collectible area of the market with individuals specifically seeking to complete the ‘set’. Lalique designed most of these in 1928 and 1929. In the new age of speed and the motorcar they were symbols of prestige, and remain so today.
Below is a selection from the sale’s catalogue of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite pieces.
– Christie’s Images Ltd. 2015 –
When A-Gent of Style started working for Veere Grenney a few years ago, the learned decorator told him one day as they were sourcing lamps together that “this lamp was one of the most iconic lamps of the 20th century. Make sure you know it”. Ignorant and arrogant, A-Gent immediately disregarded his master’s pronouncement, probably with a with the raise of an eyebrow, as he had never seen this lighting fixture before, and carried on looking at other lamps.
Within a few weeks of flicking through magazines, books, auction catalogues and online searches, it turned out that “this lamp” was everywhere to be seen, ubiquitous and almost omnipresent in many photos of inspiring interiors, and also that vintage, original versions of this lamp were the prized objects of many collectors, antique dealers and auction houses. Needless to say A-Gent of Style learned a lesson of humility that day.
1UWV is the real name of “that lamp” which was created in 1966 by American designer Cedric Hartman. It was an instant hit and it has now reached iconic status. As it is very much the case with design classics, the 1UWV floor lamp is the masterful result of simplicity, purity and functionality.
It is an all metallic slim tubular floor lamp with a rectangular counterweight base, triangular shade, spherical dimmer, adjustable height and directional light that disappears in the background, that very often unpretentiously and discreetly peeks over the back of an armchair, a chaise longue or a sofa. At the time of its creation, the look of 1UWV and its down lighting were quite revolutionary, and the antithesis then of the more fashionable fringy, chintzy lampshades with their heavy bases that casted an ambient glow rather than a focalised floodlight.
The architectural yet elegant object nowadays comes in different finishes such as stainless steel, aluminium, nickel-plated, metal gun but the most famous finish (and chicest I think) is in brass. Over his illustrious career, the 85-year-old Hartman has designed and developed other models of lights as well as furniture such as tables, chairs and sofas but the 1UWV lamp is still is best-known work. Two of his lamps have permanent resident at MOMA in New York. Unlike his masterpiece, Hartman has always shied away from the limelight but he is still working today on new prototypes, LEDs in particular.
Here is a selection of images of 1UWV, its creator and their appearances in striking interiors over the decades. Can you spot them all??
by Lauren Coburn LLC
-all images courtesy of the decorator mentioned –
The pineapple has long been a symbol of hospitality in design and architecture and is still trending today. So what better way to start the new year with a token of welcome, friendliness and graciousness and a compilation of images celebrating the now universal exotic and prickly fruit.
A-Gent of Style started compiling images of pineapples represented in interior design about six months ago and this feature wouldn’t have been possible partly without the help of the treasure trove of inspiration that is Instagram, so a big thank-you first and foremost to all my follow Instagramers from whom some of these images are borrowed.
Christopher Columbus discovered the pineapple, or ananas colossus, when he landed in Guadeloupe in 1493 and introduced it to the west on his return as “pine of the Indians”. This beautiful exotic fruit was given as a gift to promote hospitality and welcome. Pineapples were then extremely expensive (sugar and sweets were very uncommon) and were considered as a sign of prestige and affluence, first adorning homes and tables; much prized, the pineapple was often the centrepiece of table displays. In fact, people who could not afford to serve pineapples could rent them, use them as a centerpiece, and give them back after their banquet was over. By the 18th century, architects in Europe introduced the fruit in their work, carved in wood and stone, because of their novelty and value.
Today, we see pineapples not only on facades and on the framework of historical edifices such as stately homes, churches or government buildings, doorways but also on fabric, wallpaper, tableware, lighting, ornaments, furniture and accessories.
Pineapples – Not just one of your five a day…