René Jules Lalique1860-1945
1860 Lalique was born on the 6th of April in Ay, the Champagne region of north eastern France.
1872 As a boy, Lalique studied in Paris and returned to his mother during the holidays. Until the age of 14, he studied at the College Turgot. He then started to learn master drawing with a teacher named Lequien.
1874 Lalique continued his studies in the countryside, and painted guache flower bouquets which he sold to shopkeepers in the local market town.
Lalique’s father dies.
1876 Louis Aucoc takes René Lalique on as an apprentice for two years, during which time Lalique also attended evening classes at a school of decorative arts. Aucoc was among the leading luxury jewellers in Paris and under his guidance, Lalique gained practical experience, learning rudimentary skills and the properties of a jeweller’s raw materials.
1878 Lalique spent two years studying in London to continue his studies. He attends the Sydenham College located in the Crystal Palace. In the freedom of his new environment, Lalique cultivates his graphic design skills, and develops a unique and naturalistic style that would later become his trademark as a jeweller.
1880 Lalique returns to Paris and works as an illustrator for one of his relatives, M. Vuilleret. He begins to draw jewellery, but is strongly discouraged by his family who warn him that it’s a dead-end profession.
1881 Lalique spends a year as jewellery illustrator with Auguste Petit, on the Rue de Chabanais.
1882 Continues to independently design jewellery and carries out work as an illustrator. In time, he is creating designs for Jacta, Aucoc, Renn, Gariod, Hamelin and Destape.
1883 Lalique contributes to the trade magazine ‘Le Bijou’.
1884 Lalique worked for two years in partnership with Varenne, who placed his drawings with jewellery manufacturers; these bore the trade stamp Lalique & Varenne, 84, Rue de Vaugirard
1885 Lalique takes over the workshop of Jules Destape on Place Gaillon. Here he is able to concentrate on the innovative jewellery which elevated him to fame. After studying in London, he began to fabricate jewels in the traditional style, many of which were sold to other firms. A corsage ornament in the form of a flight of swallows, graduated in size as if seen in perspective, was a conceit that Lalique presented to the firm of Boucheron.
During this time he made increasing use of novel and inexpensive materials in his creations, including translucent enamels, semi-precious stones, ivory and hard stones. His workshop supervisor was Briancon, with who he would work for the next twenty years.
1886 Lalique gets married to his first wife Marie-Louise Lambert. A daughter, Georgette, born of this first marriage, met a premature death on December 12, 1910.
1887 The ‘Flight of Swallows’ parure is bought by Boucheron, and this allows Lalique to begin working in gold. Lalique is to start drawing inspiration from Japanese Art.
1889 At the ‘Exposition Universelle’ in Paris, Vever and Boucheron include works in their displays by Lalique as an anonymous collaborator. A diamond-set brooch in the form of three little songbirds perched on a rose branch was made by Lalique for the Maison Vever.
1890 Lalique opens up at the fashionable address of 20, Rue Therese, and meets his future wife Augustine-Alice Ledru, daughter of the sculptor Auguste Ledru.
Augustine-Alice gives birth to Suzanne on May the 4th 1892. Lalique begins to incorporate glass into his jewellery in the form of cast ‘pates-de-verre’.
1892 Lalique wanted to make “an extraordinary effort” to create pieces which no-one had ever seen before.
1893 Lalique takes part in a competition organized by the Union Centrale des Arts Decoratifs on the theme of a drinking vessel. He wins the second prize of 500 francs for his Thistle flowers goblet, and is awarded a medal with special mention for his Satyr and vine shoots mug.
1894 Exhibits for the first time at the ‘Salon de la Societe des Artistes Francais’ where he would remain a regular participant until 1911. Lalique begins to design stage jewellery for the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt. He also creates pieces for Siegfried Bing's Maison de l'Art Nouveau, the Paris shop that gave its name to the Art Nouveau movement.
1895-1905 Executes approx. 150 important commissions for his biggest patron Calouste Gulbenkian
1897 Lalique wins the first prize at the Universal Exhibition in Brussels and is awarded the Legion of Honour’s Croix de Chevalier.
1900 At the Universal Exhibition in Paris, Lalique’s display creates a sensation and he enjoys the greatest triumph, attracting much press, aristocracy, collectors and business people. He is hailed as founder and leader of a new school of modern jewellery design. Lalique becomes an officer of the Legion of Honour. Augustine-Alice Ledru gives birth to a second child, Marc, on September 1.
1902 International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Turin, Italy. Marriage of Lalique and Augustine-Alice on July 8. The newly married Laliques moved into a new residence in Cours-la-Reine. It incorporated living space, workshops and a showroom.
1903 First participation at the Salon d'Automne where he would exhibit regularly until 1935. A solo exhibition of Lalique’s work is held in St Petersburg.
1904 Exhibits with success in the U.S. at the Saint Louis World's Fair
1905 Opens his first retail shop at 24, Place Vendome.
1907 François Coty commissions Lalique to design labels for his perfume bottles. The teamwork of these two would eventually revolutionize the perfume industry, by presenting fine perfumes in attractive containers at affordable prices.
Lalique rents the Combs-la-Ville glassworks.
The Muse Galliria holds the "Women's Precious Jewellery Sets" exhibition.
1909 Lalique continues to experiment with glass manufacturing techniques, applying technology from French wine and pharmaceutical industries. He asks for his first patent concerning large-run glass production techniques.
Lalique’s wife Augustine-Alice Lalique-Ledru dies
1911 Lalique exhibits for the first time at the ‘Salon de la Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts’. Lalique shows a window display devoted entirely to glass, held at 24, Place Vendome.
Lalique collaborates on the design for the François Coty boutique in New York. The Lalique-designed windows can still be seen today, at 712 Fifth Avenue in New York (now the Henri Bendel store).
1913 Opens glassworks factory at Combs-La-Ville
1918 During World War I, the factory at Combs-la-Ville is forced to close so Lalique searches for a replacement. Due to rapid growth, the design and construction of a new factory begins in Wingen-sur-Moder, in the Alsace region.
Lalique presents President Wilson’s wife with a corsage ornament, which consisted of diamond-studded branches and eight glass ‘doves’ – which were actually pigeons.
1921 Lalique works on the interior decoration of the French ocean liner Paris. He later works on the liners De Grasse, Ile-de-France, and Normandie, as well as on the interiors of luxury trains such as Compagnie des Wagons-Lits (which later became the Orient Express), designing chandeliers and lighting panels.
1925 Lalique designs the interior of the Sevres Pavilion at the ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’ in Paris. At this exhibition the term "Art Deco" is derived. Lalique's glass pavilion, which includes a monumental fountain entitled "The Springs of France", is pivotal in establishing the Art Deco style. Lalique designs the first car mascot (bouchons de radiateur) for Citroen, the French automobile company. For the next six years, Lalique would design 27 models for companies such as Bentley, Bugatti, Delage, Hispano-Suiza, Rolls Royce, and Voisin.
Birth of a son, Jean Raymond, to Lalique and Marie Anre on March 30. Two years later, Lalique and Marie Anre will have their second child, Rene Jeanne Georgette.
1926 Lalique designs the windows of the Saint-Nicaise church in Reims and decoration of the new Worth store in Cannes. He also contributes to the designs of the shopping arcade on the Champs-Elysees.
Lalique begins manufacturing the luxuriously satin-finished vases, bowls, and statuettes which have become synonymous with the Lalique name.
1932 Lalique designs the fountains for the ‘Rond-Point des Champs-Elysees’ and the main doors to the salon of Prince Asaka Yasuhiko's palace in Tokyo. Lalique contributes to the glass and decoration of the Church of St. Matthew in St. Helier, Isle of Jersey, UK.
1933 A retrospective exhibition of Lalique’s work is held in Paris
1935 A new boutique opens September 6, on rue Royale. This boutique continues to serve as the main Lalique showroom today.
1939 World War II begins. Despite the Wingen factory's financial and artistic success, the onset of the War forces its closure. It remained occupied by the Germans for six years until the end of the War.
1941 The production at the Combs-la-Ville plant resumes after having closed temporarily, and Lalique participates in a glassware exhibition at the Musée des Art Decoratifs in Paris.
1945 Rene Lalique dies aged 85 on May 1st. Days before his death, Lalique found out that his factory in Alsace had been liberated by the Allied troops. He is buried at Le Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, his gravestone bears a glass crucifix which he designed.
The firm continued under the direction of his second son, Marc, and after his death, Marie-Claude Lalique, his daughter took control of the firm.
Today Lalique produces ornamental glassware as well as larger pieces for interiors, they also have jewellery collections and produce a range of fragrances.