In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week René Lalique, “Vitesse Mascot.”
A giant among giants, René Lalique (1860-1945) is remembered well for his gorgeous art nouveau-styled jewelry and glass. Indeed, by 1900, at the age of 40, Lalique was the most celebrated jeweler in the world. However, Lalique shifted his career around this time to focus more on glass, both in jewelry and as autonomous works of art.
After the death of his father in 1876, the 16-year-old Lalique became apprenticed under the acclaimed jeweler Louis Aucoc in Paris, a move that would launch one of Lalique’s many successful careers.
Lalique also participated at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904, which would help promote his work in the Americas. As mentioned above, this was also when Lalique began experimenting more with glass. All told, Lalique created an astounding variety of glass models, over 1,500 in total. Among his most notable forms were car mascots, vases, stemware, plates, bowls, mirrors, and lamps, to name just a few.
One of the more popular forms was Lalique’s figurative sculptures, especially those that display his characteristic opalescent coloring, later known as “Lalique glass.” Although hundreds, if not thousands, were produced during his storied career, each figure commands a hefty price when they head to auction. Along with an impressive selection of Tiffany & Co. lamps, many outstanding glass works by Lalique feature during Heritage Auctioneers’ November 23 “Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction” in Dallas, Texas.
The example detailed here, “Vitesse Mascot” (1929), is superb. The nude female figure is shown kneeling in an expressive, dramatic pose. Her arms reach above her head and grip her flowing hair. The pose recalls the famed Laocoön, popularized by many artists after its discovery in Rome in the 16th century. The colors of the sculpture are magnificent as well, displaying a cool opalescent blue with hints of purple and white. Heritage reports, “The pinnacle of Lalique’s career as a master glass craftsman is considered to be the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Moderns in Paris, which defined the Art Deco style. Highlights of this style included bold colors, images of nature and romanticized human figures. In addition to having his own pavilion at the Exposition, Lalique installed a 40-foot glass fountain that was seen by most of the 16 million visitors who attended the 1925 event. Lalique’s works are on display in approximately three dozen international museums, including the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, which possesses the largest publicly displayed collection of Lalique glass in the world. The Musee Lalique in Wingen-sur-Moder, France, is the main museum dedicated to Lalique in his homeland and contains 1,500 pieces. This village was the site of Lalique’s glass factory.”
Auction estimates are between $30,000 and $50,000.
To view the full catalogue, visit Heritage Auctions.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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