American Marketer


Lalique retrospective highlights founder’s artistic influence

May 20, 2014

Lalique "Escargot" on display at the Corning Museum of Glass Lalique "Escargot" on display at the Corning Museum of Glass


French crystal-maker Lalique will be able to further its position in the art world with an exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY.

The exhibit, which focuses on the eponymous founder René Lalique’s art, will be on display until January 2015. Having this retrospective created by a museum devoted to its medium will present Lalique with an ideal audience with which to share its history.

"In 2011, collectors Stanford and Elaine Steppa donated nearly 400 objects to the museum, encompassing many of Lalique’s best-known works in glass including perfume bottles, mold-blown and pressed-glass vases, ashtrays, boxes, clocks, car mascots, lamps, statuettes, inkwells, blotters and tableware," said Yvette Sterbenk, Communications Manager at the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY.

"The gift brought Corning Museum’s collection to more than 600 objects, which span Lalique’s career," she said. "The museum’s Rakow Library holds over 2,000 documents relating to his glass production.

"The Corning Museum of Glass collection is unparalleled both in its depth and breadth of Lalique materials, and we wanted to organize this exhibition to display these objects and materials."

Glass house

“René Lalique: Enchanted by Glass” opened May 17 and will run through Jan. 4, 2015.

Most pieces on display come from the museum’s archives, with items ranging from glass, jewelry, molds used in production and sketches. These cover the majority of the designer’s career, from 1893 to his death in 1945.

Lalique Corning 1

Lalique piece on exhibit at the Corning Museum of Glass

Mr. Lalique was innovative in his designs, one of the first to use mass production, which allowed his pieces to end up in more homes than many of his contemporaries.

According to the museum, Mr. Lalique was also influential in shaping the Art Noveau and Art Deco styles.

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Lalique piece on display at the Corning Museum of Glass

Along with the Lalique-centric exhibit, “Designing for a New Century: Works on Paper by Lalique and His Contemporaries” focuses on the glass works through paper. Sketches of pieces, trade catalogs, vintage photographs and books tell the story of both Mr. Lalique and Maurice Marinot, Auguste Herbst, Emile Gallé and Val St. Lambert’s work will be on display in the museum's Rakow Library.

Kelley Jo Elliot, curatorial assistant at the Corning Museum of Glass, has compiled a book accompaniment to the exhibit, which will be published May 27 by Yale University Press. In addition to photos of Mr. Lalique’s work on display, the tome showcases other pieces from the museum’s archives, such as drawings.

00a 3627 Lalique jacket [JJL 10-15].indd

Cover of René Lalique: Enchanted by Glass

Lalique publicized the exhibit on its Facebook page, and the museum also promoted the display to its approximate 28,000 followers.

The crystal-maker will also be selling pieces in the museum's gift shop, giving consumers the opportunity to take home a piece of the brand.

History lesson
Lalique has previously turned to exhibits to showcase its history and current line of crystal.

The brand showcased its architectural line within a Bloomingdale’s store to raise awareness for its range of merchandise.

Lalique’s Interior Decoration exhibition at the Bloomingdale’s in The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack, NJ, focused on the brand’s décor pieces, including tables, chandeliers and crystal panels. This exhibit allowed Lalique to simultaneously point to its recent projects, such as an installation at the Mandarin Oriental in Paris, and its heritage creating architectural pieces (see story).

Looking back to history can actually help a brand move forward in some cases.

Lalique’s CEO of North America at the Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2013 shared the brand’s strategy to attract new, younger consumers while maintaining its relationship with passionate brand enthusiasts.

During the “Lalique: Becoming the Ultimate French Luxury Lifestyle Brand Defined by Five Pillars” session, the CEO revealed how Lalique is looking to its brand DNA by elevating its five pillars of production to become a total luxury lifestyle brand. Lalique seeks to achieve this status through brand engagement with its top consumers whose passion for the brand may help to increase the company’s exposure among new consumers (see story).

For patrons of the Corning Museum, this exhibit will be very much of interest.

"The museum sees more than 400,000 visitors annually, and we expect this to be a popular show," Ms. Sterbenk said.

Final Take
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York