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June 25 Art Minute: René Lalique, Poppy Necklace

Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Art Museum, Toledo Museum, art, artminute, art of the week
René Lalique, designer (French, 1860–1945), Poppy Necklace. Gold, rosecut diamonds, patinated glass, and enamel, about 1900–1903. Pendant: H. 2 7/8 in. Mr. and Mrs. George M. Jones, Jr. Fund, 1995.13. Gallery 34

René Lalique was one of the greatest French designers of glass and jewelry of the 20th century. This necklace demonstrates his artistic ingenuity. His designs in the Art Nouveau style are radical departures in concept, trading an emphasis on traditional precious stones for a unified design. Lalique used traditional jewelry materials, such as diamonds, gold, and colored enamel; however, he combined them in new and innovative ways. More significantly, he combined them with a non-traditional jewelry material: glass.

Cleverly designed to be worn on its enamel and gold chain or pinned on as a brooch, the necklace makes a bold statement in the turn-of-the-20th-century Art Nouveau style, with its emphasis on nature’s flowing curves. Lalique has captured not only the bending of stems and unfurling of leaves, but he also expresses the stages of the poppies’ growth from bud to full bloom and their subtle range of color.

This work is currently located in Gallery 34.