Lalique Museum’s treasures

© T. Joly
A jeweller of exceptional gifts and an immense master glassmaker, René Lalique was one of the great designers of Art Nouveau and Art Deco. In Alsace, a museum highlights the many facets of his work as well as Lalique crystal.

[ Practical ]

Getting there
- By road
440 km from Paris on autoroute A4 till exit 43 then on D1061, D15, D13 and D9 till Wingen-sur-Moder.
60 km from Strasbourg on autoroutes, A35, A4 then on D100, D17, D6 and D919 till Wingen-sur-Moder.
- By train
TGV from Paris Est to Strasbourg or Sarrebruck then TER train till Wingen-sur-Moder. The journey takes between 3 h 15 mn and 3 h 45 mn.
All accommodations are located in La Petite Pierre, 10 km away
Hôtel Au Lion d’Or
Hôtel Aux Trois Roses
Hôtel Les Vosges
Crista’Lion, near the museum
Auberge d’Imsthal, in La Petite Pierre
Au Lion d’Or, in La Petite Pierre
Les Vosges, in La Petite Pierre
A l’Aigle, in Wimmenau
Opening dates and hours
Open every day from 10am to 7pm from April 1st to Septembre 30th, Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm from Octobre 1st to March 31st.
Closed in January
€6 / €3.
- Pays de La Petite Pierre Tourist Office
Tel : 0388704230
- Lalique Museum
Tel : 0388890814
No place was better suited than Wingen-sur-Moder to host a museum dedicated to René Lalique and his successors. It’s indeed in this village of Northern Alsace that he chose to open his glasswork in 1921 well aware that he would be able to find in this region with a long tradition of glassmaking the skilled labour that he needed. A company his son, Marc, brought into the era of crystal after WWII.

© T. Joly
 Monumental crystal chandelier
The museum stands on a former glassmaking site that operated in the 18th-19th centuries to which was added a modern building surrounded by a garden inspired by Zen philosophy and patterns of some Lalique creations.
Occupying 900 sqm, the permanent collection comprises 650 objects. These pieces were acquired by the museum or are on long term loan from private collectors, the Lalique company and Parisian museums like the Musée des Arts et Métiers and the Musée des Arts Décoratif to which belongs the monumental crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling of the entrance hall. Made by Marc Lalique in 1951, it is composed of 337 pieces, rises to a height of 3 metres high and weights 1.7 ton !!!!
Thanks to a modern display, all works are perfectly showcased and their beauty and delicateness make the visit attractive for young and old alike. However, there are also detailed explanations providing technical information and allowing visitors to trace Renée Lalique’s life and career.

© T. Joly
 Modern jewels
Chronologically organised, the exhibition starts with the presentation of combs, brooches, hairpins, diadems, pendants and other jewels that he created from the end of the 19th century because he was first a talented jeweller. A great figure of the Art Nouveau era, Emile Gallé even considered him the inventor of modern jewellery because he was the first one to combine gold and precious stones with materials rarely used before such as horn, ivory, semi-precious stones, enamel and glass.
A few preparatory drawings are also on display and information panels evoke his most famous clients and patrons such as actress Sarah Bernhardt and oil magnate and art collector Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian. This first section ends with a space devoted to the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris where his jewels were truly a hit and confirmed him as one of the world's great jewelers.

© T. Joly
 Perfume bottles
However, he then gradually turned towards glassmaking while keeping the same major sources of inspiration : the female body, fauna and flora. First, he produced bottles for the greatest perfumers of the age, an activity illustrated by more than 230 models coming from the private collection of Silvo Denz, present manager director and owner of the Lalique Company. Then, visitors discover the extraordinary variety of glassware he created once he had settled in Wingen-sur-Moder. Tableware, lamps, vases, and statuettes as well as centerpieces, chandeliers and car mascots for luxury automobiles bear witness of his know how and creative minds.
Videos and pictures also remind of the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts - where his exhibits established his reputation as a glass designer - as well of lesser-known aspects of Lalique's creative output.

© T. Joly
 Sacred art
An eclectic artist, he indeed produced monumental works like fountains, dining rooms, doors and decoration for palaces, the Orient Express train and the Normandie passenger liner.
He even gained fame in the field of sacred art with the creation of stained-glass windows and glass crucifixes, one of the latter being on display.
The last section of the museum is devoted to the contemporary production of the Lalique factory. Some of its most emblematic works are on display alongside explanations about the techniques used, such as injection, enameling and satin finishing. There is even a multi-touch table demonstrating the various stages in the manufacture of the famous Bacchantes vase created in 1927 but still produced. Lastly, as it’s not possible to tour the factory, a multi-screen video wall shows the glassmakers working.

November 29, 2013
Thierry Joly