"The success of an object does not come only from the quality of the décor itself, but above all the way in which it adapts to the form it is intended for.” - Suzanne Lalique-Haviland
When your father is a famous glass designer and you marry a man with an iconic name in ceramics like Haviland, pity the artist who is a woman. The unspoken, unacknowledged quota that limits the space allotted in our historical memory does to women what the Cheshire Cat did to himself, fading from view right before our eyes. Who knows how many copies exist of Rene Lalique's glass figurine of his daughter Suzanne or whether viewers recognize her, an artist appropriated by another artist. (see photo above)
Once established on her own, Suzanne did collaborate with her father in 1920 on the project for the Salon de conversation on the ocean liner Paris Transatlantic. She designed textiles for Tassinari et Chatel, Prelle; the company still manufactures the fabric Branche de prunus which she designed for the liner.
Suzanne's fabric designs are often playful and witty takes on familiar objects but her work seldom displays the preciousness seen in the drawings of Georges Barbier. L’art nouveau style continued to be popular with graphic artists for years after it was superseded by what – in retrospect – was dubbed Art Deco.
In 1928, Compagnie internationale des Wagons-lit hired Maison Lalique to design new décors for its trains on the Côte d’Azur Express. Suzanne designed an exquisite Pullman coach paneled with inlaid floral bouquets dusted in silver and glass paste. She took great pains in choosing hers color for the paste: white paste porcelain, celadon or ivory shades. Commissions from the Parisian Hotel Georges V and New York's Waldorf-Astoria followed. This may be the right place to note that Lalique-Haviland's designs avoid the preciousness that marred the work of some of her contemporaries, that was the legacy of fading Art Nouveau. But it was also made easier by her avoidance of human figures in her work which dated the works of Georges Barbier and Jean Dunand.
Musée Lalique opened on July 1, 2011. It presented the first Suzanne Lalique-Haviland retrospective in France . Through a series of revealing juxtapositions her daring finished works and framed drawings and gouaches make plain that she was the creator of works, known and admired, but never before acknowledged to be hers.
Visit Musee Lalique online.
Photographs courtesy of La Tribune d'Art, Paris.
Design for Bengali dinner service, Musee des Arts-deocratifs, Paris.
Parasole, gouache, ca. 1920, Musee des Arts-decoratifs, Paris.
Three panel screen with fruits and flowers, Musee Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moden.
Creole pattern dinnerware for Haviland et Cie, 1931, Musee Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moder.
Lagamar Vase, ca. 1925, Musee Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moder.
Designs for a new production of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, 1951, Musee Lalique, Wingen-sur-Mopder.