• France, c. 1898–1900 
  • Glass, silver, enamel, gold and baroque pearl 
  • Inv. 1141
  • René Lalique

‘Female face’ pendant

René Lalique

Given its symbolic association to the world of dreams, the poppy may be considered one of the emblematic flowers of Art Nouveau. This pendant shows a frontally portrayed female face in opalescent glass and surrounded by hair in patinated silver and with a silver hood formed by four large open poppies. A large baroque pearl hangs from the hair around the lower part of the face.

Lalique reveals his skill as a sculptor, presumably influenced both by Auguste Ledru (his father-in-law) and his brother-in-law.

The female figure, a recurrent theme in Lalique’s work, appears in the half-sleeping in-the-round face in moulded glass, framed by the wavy hair and hood in patinated silver. The enormous hanging baroque pearl, which he started using in his work as from around 1897, reveals another influence and sources of inspiration: Renaissance jewellery. His use of glass in the design of jewels also reached its finest expression in this pendant. Lalique managed to create jewels/objets d’art through this use of glass, a material he was particularly fond of, and of the transparency that enabled various plays of light.

Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian from René Lalique, 1901.

H. 7 cm; W. 5.2 cm 

Barten 1977

Sigrid Barten, René Lalique. Schmuck und Objets d’art, 1890-1910. Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1977, p. 308, no. 609.

Goffen 1995

Rona Goffen (ed.), Museums Discovered. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Woodbine Books, 1995, p. 156.

Ferreira 1997

Maria Teresa Gomes Ferreira, Lalique. Jóias. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1997, p. 108–11, no. 10.

Lisbon 1999

A Arte do Retrato. Quotidiano e Circunstância, exhibition catalogue. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 1999, p. 214–15, cat. 84.

Lisbon 2001

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 175, cat. 152.