Auctions

All 39 Lalique Pieces in Sotheby’s Paris Auction Sold

AuctionsDec 21, 2021

All 39 Lalique Pieces in Sotheby’s Paris Auction Sold

The sale totaled nearly $1.9 million.

The recent Sotheby’s Paris sale of 39 René Lalique pieces collected by one man totaled nearly $1.9 million in revenue, leading with this orchid comb as the top lot.
Paris—Demonstrating the excitement that still swirls around Art Nouveau designer René Lalique, all the lots in a recent Sotheby’s auction comprising one collection of his pieces were sold. 
 
The Dec. 17 sale in Paris featured 39 lots collected by the late Claude H. Sorbac and totaled €1.7 million, or about $1.9 million. 
 
Lalique (1860-1945) started as an apprentice with goldsmith and jeweler Louis Aucoc in 1876, before studying at the Sydenham Art College of London and then working as a designer for jewelry houses such as Vever, Cartier, and Boucheron.
 
In 1885, he became an independent designer, exhibiting works under his own name and exploring different materials. After doing that for 25 years, he left goldsmithing and jewelry behind to explore the art of glassmaking, which brought him worldwide acclaim.
 
Sorbac, meanwhile, grew up around art and became a major collector after serving in WWII and starting his career as an entrepreneur. 
 
He quickly took an interest in Lalique, devoting decades to collecting his works, travelling to flea markets and auctions and even buying pieces directly from Lalique’s heirs. 
 
Sorbac died this year, and though his collection had been featured in various museums and exhibition, it marked the first time the pieces were seen at auction. 
 
The top lot of the sale was the “Cattleya” orchid flower comb made of ivory, horn, enamel, and diamond, pictured below.
 
 
Showcasing the influence new species of plants were having on turn-of-the century artists, it is one of three “Orchidée” combs he made in 1904, with Sotheby’s calling this one the “most grand” in terms of size, finesse, the “velvety” texture of the petals and the delicate plique-à-jour enamel work.
 
It sold within its pre-sale estimate range when it garnered €738,500 at auction, or about $833,000. 
 
Following this lot was the “Pensées” tiara, adorned with glass pansies alternating with diamond-studded green enamel foliage designs, which sold for €163,800, or about $184,900. 
 
 
At No. 3 was the “Chantecler” collar, seen below, made of openwork leather embroidered with silk, enamel roosters, and glass berries, set with a cabochon citrine at the clasp (€138,600, or $156,400), followed by the “Papillon de Nuit,” or “Night Butterfly,” enamel and diamond clip at No. 4, which went for slightly over its pre-sale estimate high went it garnered €126,000, or $142,200.  
 
 
Rounding out the top five was the “Visage de Femme et Glycine” pendant-necklace pictured below, which depicts a woman’s face in profile, surrounded by wisteria flowers applied with blue and green enamel. 
 
It too went for more than its pre-sale estimate, garnering €88,200, or $99,500, at auction. 
 
 
Other highlights were the “Camélias” necklace, comprising glass decorated with camellia flowers alternating with freshwater pearls, that sold for well above its pre-sale estimate with a final price of €56,700, or $64,000; an 18-karat gold coiled snake brooch that went for nearly double its pre-sale estimate to sell for €13,860, or $15,600; and the preparatory drawing of the “Orchidée Cattleya” comb, which sold for nearly three times what it was predicted to garner for €9,450, or $10,700. 
 
To see the auction’s full results, visit Sothebys.com.

 Related stories will be right here … 
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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