Do you remember the post about my visit to the Lalique exhibition in The Hague a few weeks ago? I was rather disappointed because there was hardly any jewellery on display, while jewellery is what René Lalique (1860-1945) was most famous for!
However, once I had overcome my disappointment, I could actually enjoy the designs Lalique made for his glass objects. Time allowed Lalique to produce glass objects in a more industrial way, while his qualities as a designer elevated his objects to ‘industrial luxury products’.
From all the objects displayed at the exhibition, I loved the perfume bottle ‘Cactus’ most. In 1937 Lalique had been commissioned to design a promotional gift for the first class passengers of the Rotterdam Lloyd Shipping Company. For the ladies he designed a perfume bottle, for the men a paperweight. There were a lot of issues between Lalique and Lloyd regarding the design and the price, but in 1938, 5.000 Cactus perfume bottles and 5.000 paperweights were delivered in Rotterdam. However in May 1940, when WWII started, most of Rotterdam was destroyed and only a few bottles survived the bombardment. The ones that did survive the war were later transformed into pansies vases (they cut off the bottlenecks – see top picture).
Now, during the Open Monumenten Dagen (National Heritage Days) last weekend, we accidentally walked into an auction viewing at auction house Mak. And what do you know…. there was that lovely perfume bottle from Lalique again!
Back home I immediately downloaded the auction catalogue and registered at the auction house in order to be able to place a bid during the auction today. I was very excited as this was my first auction. I had my strategy worked out at home: I would wait until I was sure nobody would bid anymore, and only then raise my hand. I wouldn’t be the one driving the price up. And I did well! I acquired my very own Lalique Cactus for a ridiculously low price and I am a happy person!!!