As many as four items whet buyers’ appetites in this sale of precious finery.
René Lalique (1860-1945), "Wisteria" pendant and chain, c. 1899-1901, 18 ct yellow gold and polychrome champlevé enamels, length of pendant: 7 cm, weight: 73.85 g.
Refinement, poetry, lightness, virtuosity, imagination, craftsmanship, technical skill and perfection are just some of the words on a long list that pay homage to the master jeweller of the flourishing Art Nouveau-style, René Lalique (1860–1940). At the turn of the 20th century, just before or after the legendary Paris Exposition of 1900, which ushered in a new era in art, Lalique was not yet the glassmaker that the whole world would soon praise for his revolutionary contribution to the craft. He was, however, already a renowned jeweller, who had won every award and received orders from the European elite swooning over his creations. When you see the virtuosity with which a dragonfly stands out against a horn letter opener designed around 1906–1908 (l. 27.5 cm, 10.8 in, €24,320); how he played with horn to cut out airy willow branches on a comb (6.3 x 12.4 cm, 2.4 x 4.8 in, €38,400); the delicate face of a woman, made around 1898–1900 in translucent enamel in a skilfully arranged tangle of leaves and bunches of fruit, adorning this neck pendant, called Autumn (€44,800, reproduced); you understand why. The pendant and long chain in yellow gold and polychrome enamel is simply floral poetry. No wonder Émile Gallé called Lalique the "inventor of modern jewellery". Great talents recognise one another! Art Deco naturally came next. All eyes were on the lookout for a plaster console by Jean-Michel Franck (1895–1941), but it did not appear, having been withdrawn from the sale beforehand.