When a bronze woman with outsize wings by René Lalique landed in Châtellerault, in the Vienne département, she was eagerly awaited, as she rarely appears at auction and always causes a flutter each time.
René Lalique (1860-1945), Femme ailée (Winged Woman), bronze with shaded brown patina, lost wax casting, ca. 1899-1900, 98.5 x 104.7 x 9 cm.
As we know, this was part of a balustrade created by the great jeweller and master glassmaker for his stand at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris. It is an exceptional work, because there were only six panels of this kind, featuring graceful figures all in different poses. Three of them can already be seen in international institutions: the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin, and the Lalique museums in Hakone, Japan, and Wingen-sur-Moder, France. After a rapid bidding battle, the hammer came down on €508,200, and off she went to a foreign collector, who remained anonymous. The sale was decidedly governed by the metal arts, because the second highest result, €16,577, went to a magnificent bronze bull of c. 1700 (16.5 cm high with base), attributed to the French school. However, it was modelled on an identical sculpture by Giambologna (1529-1608), adding to its appeal.