• France, ca. 1906-08
  • Rock crystal, gold and diamonds 
  • Inv. 1255
  • René Lalique

Cats choker

René Lalique

This choker is perhaps one of the most elegant pieces by the artist in the Gulbenkian Collection, for despite its apparent sobriety and absence of colour, it presents a truly prodigious combination of technique and supreme artistry. It is made up of a series of small engraved rock crystal squares, alternately decorated with cats and foliage, linked by gold mesh. The joints enabling the squares to flex are concealed by small diamonds, and the top and the bottom of the choker have a gold border enamelled in white. This extremely sober piece reveals the play of light and transparency that the artist cultivated throughout his life, particularly through the use of glass in his jewellery. In this case, the same effect is achieved with rock crystal, an extremely difficult material to work.

The stylistic evolution of the artist is noteworthy in this piece where the dominant lines are rectilinear as opposed to the more sinuous forms of Art Nouveau. 

Calouste Gulbenkian acquired the choker from Lalique in 1920.

Provenance

Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from René Lalique on May 11th, 1920.

H. 5.4 cm; W. 33.8 cm 

Barten 1977

Sigrid Barten – René Lalique. Schmuck und Objets d’art, 1890-1910, München, 1977, p. 238, no. 313

Gomes Ferreira 1997

Maria Teresa Gomes Ferreira – Lalique. Jóias, Lisboa, Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, 1997, p. 256-259, no. 73, colourpls. (also available in French translation)

New York 1999

“Only the Best”. Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, exhibition catalogue, Katharine Baetjer e James David Draper (eds.) – New York (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), 1999, p. 156-157, no. 77, colourpls.