What’s It Worth?: Lamps from Lalique’s 1939 ‘Four Seasons’ set

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What’s It Worth?: Lamps from Lalique’s 1939 ‘Four Seasons’ set

What’s It Worth?: Lamps from Lalique’s 1939 ‘Four Seasons’ set

Q: My mother is curious about two lamps she inherited from the estate of her great uncle. The glass part is 7.5 inches tall. He traveled widely and collected crystal, glass and china. Can you give us any help with maker, age or value?

A: My first suggestion is for your mother to ask around among her cousins: Does anyone else have a similar lamp? She is missing two from the set. Your lamps part of a set of four statues designed in 1939 by the great French jewelry and glass entrepreneur René Lalique.

Born in France in 1860, Lalique displayed an artistic proficiency at an early age. In 1876 he was apprenticed to Louis Aucoc, one of the finest goldsmiths in Paris, while in the evenings he studied at L’Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in that city.

By 1880, Lalique was successful in his own right as a jeweler designing for well-know makers and private clients. His sculptural Art Nouveau pieces combined precious metals with semi-precious stones, ivory, enamel and glass.

Toward the end of the 19th century, Lalique began to experiment more and more with glass and enamel. He patented a glass perfume bottle design in 1909; that same year, perfumer and industrialist François Coty commissioned Lalique to design bottles for his fragrances.

Using the skill, production techniques and labor innovations he learned through the perfume partnership, Lalique’s workshops produced well over 1,000 designs for architectural elements, vases, cane handles, medallions, bookends, lighting and car mascots.

Lalique designed the frosted glass “Le Quatre Saisons”  (The Four Seasons) in 1939. Each figure depicts a kneeling nude holding an emblem of the season: Spring is surrounded by small flowers; a fruit garland drapes Summer; Autumn clutches a sheaf of wheat; and Winter kneels in a batch of mistletoe. Your figures are Summer and Fall. Each is most likely signed R. Lalique, but the lamp mounting may obscure the signature.

The value depends greatly on the condition of the glass. If the figures were drilled they loose almost all value to collectors. If they are glued to the base and can be removed without damage, each statue on its own would sell for $200 to $400. A complete set — with no chips, flakes or cracks — sells in the $1,500-$2,500 range.

When René Lalique died in 1945, the company passed to his son Marc Lalique, who continued to expand the catalog of one-of-a-kind and production designs. Marc’s daughter, Marie-Claude Lalique, took over the business in 1977. She updated designs, added color, developed her own fragrance and returned to jewelry making. In 1994 she sold the company.

Today, Lalique produces luxury decorative items, jewelry, perfumes, furniture and accessories. It represents the work of contemporary artists while continuing to make versions of its signature works. Examples of René Lalique’s jewelry and glass can be seen at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. For more information, illustrations, authentication processes and listings of fakes and reproductions, visit the independent website www.rlalique.com.


Jane Alexiadis is a personal property appraiser. Send questions to worth@janealexiadis.com.

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Published at Thu, 11 Jan 2018 22:00:59 +0000