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One of the pieces he showed at the Paris World's Fair of 1900 was this remarkable corsage ornament, considered by many to be his masterwork.
René Lalique (1860-1945) raised jewelry to the level of a fine art, using his amazing technical virtuosity to realize a very personal imagery based equally in dream and nature. He has been called the greatest artist-jeweler since the Renaissance. Lalique’s designs were embraced by the celebrated actresses of the day, including Sarah Bernhardt and Julia Bartlett whose bold personalities could carry off these strong and often large artworks. According to scholar Emmanuel Ducamp, who wrote the catalogue essay on Lalique, “The aristocracy backed away saying ‘too much and not enough,’ meaning too loud and the simple materials didn’t have enough value.” Lalique’s creativity and reformist vision of woman as earth mother, creator, warrior, and protector went hand in hand with the modernism embraced near the turn of the century in the theatrical repertoire. Powerful roles for women like Salome, Jeanne d’Arc, Medee, Cleopatra—made impressions that had ripple effects.