Listen as curator Tina Oldknow describes Snake Vase, created by glass artist Rene Lalique. This vase in the form of a coiled snake, one of Lalique’s iconic designs, expresses the energy and elegance of the Art Deco style. Lalique’s first and very successful career was as a jeweler. In 1890, he opened a studio in Paris, on the Rue Thérèse, where he supplied unique pieces to his elite clients, who included famous personalities such as the actress Sarah Bernhardt.
In 1909, Lalique was approached by the parfumeur François Coty, who commissioned him to design a series of perfume bottles. Lalique enjoyed the challenge, and turning his attention from jewelry to glass objects, he embarked on a second lucrative career. Lalique purchased a glass factory in eastern France in 1918, where he manufactured a wide range of art glass vases, plates, bottles, boxes, sculptures, and chandeliers, as well as architectural glass. He used modern industrial methods of manufacture, including blowing into molds and pressing.