18 November 2012

Into The Whirlwind: The Laliques

As an example of how a style goes out of fashion, similar to the process ideas go through when they  wear themselves out and need to be put to rest for awhile, look at these two works in glass.  Both were produced soon after World War I and both were produced by Laliques - father and daughter.  This perfume bottle (Flacon Fraicheur) that Rene Lalique designed in 1919 is of a familiar graceful example of his work in  the style L'Art Nouveau, but it is overwrought.  Pleasing to the eye perhaps, but it would be a pain in the neck to handle if it held your favorite perfume.  The style has become the meaning, in this case trumping its ostensible purpose.

Now look at Tourbillon, (Whirlwind) by his daughter Suzanne Lalique-Haviland.   A work created in the then ascendant style that had yet to be named - Art Deco.  She shows a mastery of design elements that are abstract and self-consciously modern, conveying  a sense of the chaotic movement suggested by the object's name, while respecting the integrity of the jar itself.

1. Rene Lalique - Flacon Fraicheur, 1919, Musee Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moder.
2. Suzanne Lalique-Haviland - Vase Tourbillon (Whirlwind), Musee Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moder,


John said...

Suzanne Lalique-Haviland’s design is at once more muscular and less fussy than her father’s, though not I would suggest, less delicate. Delicacy is a curious quality, as evident in the movements of a boxer as a ballet dancer. I could not agree more with your comment in the previous post regarding the limitations afforded women in conventional historical perspectives. On that subject there is an entire alternative narrative which remains unwritten.

Jane said...

I appreciate your thoughts on what constitutes delicacy/ I knew there was a good reason that I struggle to find the good adjectives.
As for making the invisible narrative visible, thanks be for Linda Nochlin, Ann Sutherland Harris, Lucy Lippard, and others too numerous to name. I once attended a lecture by Harris on the figure drawing of "great" male artists, revealed to be often lacking in close observation.

Hels said...

"An ascendant style that had yet to be named".

Thank you..I love that thought! A style can be increasingly popular, but until we have a well accepted name for that style, we will have trouble analysing changing trends.

But even then, trends constantly change. The first perfume bottle was Art Nouveau, only overwrought. Mannerism was Renaissance, only stretched and exaggerated.