Lot 36
  • 36

René Lalique

600,000 - 800,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • René Lalique
  • A Highly Important and Unique “Roses” Vase, Marcilhac CP 48
  • engraved LALIQUE
  • cire perdue glass with applied brown patiné
  • 12 3/4  in. (32.4 cm) high


Christie’s New York, March 31, 1998, lot 23
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Felix Marcilhac, René Lalique:  Maître-Verrier, Paris, 1989 and 1994 editions, p. 986 (for a drawing of the model)

Catalogue Note

The “Roses” vase presented here was created using the cire perdue technique. From 1911 to 1934, more than 700 unique works in the “lost wax” process were produced in René Lalique’s workshop, of which 588 are documented in the catalogue raisonné.  Designed for prestigious collectors, such as Calouste Gulbenkian or Georges Charbonneaux, each of whom possessed about ten examples in their collections,  and also retailed at Lalique’s shop at 24 Place Vendôme, the cire perdue  glass contributed to the artist’s universal reputation, and were presented in the Parisian Salons and world expositions in which the firm participated every year. Each piece being unique, they differed from the mass-produced glassware that Lalique created from 1908 to 1945. 

In 1912, René Lalique left the production of the cire perdue pieces to his new employee, Maurice Bergelin, who was in charge of the molding workshop.  Before this year, the experiments to create large-scale works had been unsuccessful as a large number of pieces were broken during the fabrication. After having found a new composition for the mold made out of a secret mix of wax and other thinning substances created by Bergelin and detailed in his personal notes, the fabrication process of blowing the molten glass into the mold was much more successful. The number of broken pieces was brought down to 20%, and thus René Lalique was able to produce them more regularly.  Between 1919 and 1923, more than 500 unique pieces were realized.

The technique: After having sculpted a vase in modeling wax or plaster, a wooden mold for clay was then created, its inside coated with a thick layer of wax. A clay mixture was then poured in between the wax and the mold, to capture the details of the sculpture. The mold was then placed in a kiln, and the ensuing heat melted the wax, which was released through holes created in the mold.  Molten glass was then poured in its place, and after cooling the mold was broken apart, revealing the finished masterwork.  Maurice Bergelin precisely monitored the cooling of the pieces, recording in his notes the evolution of each step and each piece, in order to improve the process.

Although the pieces were unique and the molds destroyed after the creation of each piece, the designs considered particularly brilliant and aesthetically spectacular were produced in several copies.  The important, early and rare “Roses” vase presented here was realized three times, referenced in the catalogue raisonné under the numbers CP 47, CP 48 (the present example), and CP 53. It was executed by Bergelin in October - November 1913 under the direction of René Lalique.  Auguste Ledru, Lalique’s brother in law and son of the sculptor, created the décor of the vase, as inscribed in the fabrication notes from these months. The detail of the rose petals in high relief, the stems and the thorns delicately underlining the body of the vase, make it a collection piece of exceptional quality.

-Félix Marcilhac, Author of René Lalique:  Maître-Verrier