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Rene Lalique and His Art
Alevtina Kalinina

he words “art” and “quality” were never used in one sentence to describe art before the Art Nouveau movement at the turn of the 20th century. Reacting to the academic 19th century, pre-dating the disasters of the 20th century, this style of art and decoration comprised all the beauty of nature, and caught its essence in masterpieces that people could handle. “Art as part of everyday life” became the motto of the Art Nouveau movement. Live it now, value it every second. Every surface you see or touch should be beautiful.

Rene Lalique is synonymous with the beauty and quality of Art Nouveau. Not only an imaginative artist, he is a designer who has imported into jewellery new materials, such as opals and semi-precious stones, moulded glass, horn and ivory. With nature as the major source of his inspiration, Lalique and other artists have created ornaments both original and memorable, as if they are pieces of fairytales. For goldsmiths of previous centuries, there used to be an emphasis on gemstones, whereas Art Nouveau was more concerned with design than arranging settings for diamonds. In a way, Art Nouveau re-established the Renaissance, when sculpture and enamelled gold were made by artists not craftsmen.

Lalique has managed to combine 15th century ideals with the demands of modern city dwellers. He has brought both decorative jewels and glass to people’s everyday life, using mass-production techniques. Emile Galle, an eminent French artist working in glass and one of the principal leaders of the Art Nouveau movement in France, praised Lalique, naming him “the inventor of modern jewellery”.

The exhibition of Lalique’s works is an unprecedented event for the Kremlin Museums. Yelena Gagarina, the Museum’s director commented: “In September, the Kremlin museums will host a collection of art nouveau jewellery designed by Rene Lalique. It’s going to be a very beautiful exhibition but also a complex one. We are bringing to Moscow many great and unique items including from places as far afield as Portugal, Paris, Japan, and New York”.

Lalique’s works are dispersed around the world in numerous museum collections and even more numerous private ones.

September 17 – January 2010
Open: 10:00 – 18:00 except Thursday
Kremlin Museums, Assumption Belfry

Such a complete presentation of Lalique’s masterpieces is the first show of its kind.

Among collections that have contributed exhibits to this exhibition are the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Lalique Museum in Hakone, Japan, and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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