Lalique's artistry has lasting value Antiques: The French goldsmith produced jewelry for Sarah Bernhardt, perfume bottles for Coty and glass figures, vases and bowls.

March 16, 1997|By Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel | Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel,KING FEATURES SYNDICATE

Rene Lalique was a famous French goldsmith, jeweler, glassmaker and artist who lived from 1860 to 1945.

At first Lalique designed jewelry, including some for the actress Sarah Bernhardt. He used many semiprecious stones and also glass enameling and pieces of horn. Much of Bernhardt's jewelry was designed to look like flowers, insects and snakes.

In the 1890s, Lalique began experimenting with glass for use in jewelry. By 1908 he was making molded glass perfume bottles for Francois Coty.

Lalique continued to make all types of glass figures, vases and bowls, using clear and opalescent glass. Some pieces were brown, blue, peach or another color. The designs usually were made with raised decorations.

After Lalique died, his glassworks continued, and pieces are still being made. The items made before 1945 are marked R. Lalique. Newer pieces have just the name Lalique.

At a recent garage sale I purchased a decorative plate with a reproduction of a winter scene on it. It is signed "Moses." Can you help me?

Your plate is one of the four limited editions of Grandma Moses scene plates. It's probably "Out for the Christmas Tree," which was made in 1952 and is the most scarce of the four. There were 10,000 of that scene made.

The others are "Checkered House," "Jack and Jill" and "Catching the Thanksgiving." A total of 120,000 of the three scenes were made.

"Grandma Moses" is the nickname for the well-known folk artist Anna Mary Robertson. She was born in 1860 and started her art career when she was in her late 70s. She died in 1961.

The plates were made by the Atlas Galleries and were given away as gas-station premiums in the 1950s. Although Grandma Moses paintings are expensive, the plates have little value.

The Kovels welcome letters and answer as many as possible through the column. Write to Kovels, The Sun, King Features Syndicate Inc., 235 E. 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

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