• R. Lalique
  • Vase
  • 1938
  • 35,5cm high
  • Perfect condition
  • Topaz glass
  • € 8.750

Lalique designed a Grosse Boule (big sphere) called MAJESTIC for the hotel of the same name at number 19 Avenue Kléber. Until 1904, this place was known for the Palacio Castilla, which was inhabited by Isabelle II of Spain, who in 1868 bought it from the wealthy Russian nobleman Alexander Basilewski had purchased. At that time, Avenue Kléber was still known as Avenue du Roi de Rome. Isabella was the queen consort of Antoine d'Orléans, Duke of Montpensier and lived in exile at this residence until her death in 1904. In that year the palace was bought by hotel magnate Leonard Tauber. In 1906 Tauber started the construction of a new hotel that looked very much like a palace. The hotel opened its doors in December 1908. In 1914 it was bought by the British lawyer and ardent supporter of women's suffrage Henry Devenish Harben (1874-1967). Due to the outbreak of the First World War, he had it converted into a hospital. This was good for the injured but not for the hotel itself. It was not until 1916 that the damage was repaired and the hotel reopened. On May 18, 1922, Stravinksy's ballet 'Le Renard' premiered, performed by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. To mark the occasion, the extremely wealthy British couple Violet and Sydney Schiff had organized a dinner afterwards. It took place, late at night, in one of the hotel's exclusive dining rooms. Among the guests were celebrities such as Marcel Proust, Pablo Picasso, James Joyce and of course Igor Stravinsky. The British writer Richard Davenport-Hines wrote a book about it that described it all beautifully. Other contemporary sources reported that Joyce and Proust were drunk and complaining about their own physical discomfort. Proust, who was a notorious user of sedatives and sleeping pills because of his asthma, died of pneumonia on November 22 of the same year. Another great celebrity who had welcomed the hotel was the composer George Gershwin who worked on his 'An American in Paris' in 1928 during his stay.

In 1936 the hotel was purchased by the French Ministry of Defence. Until October 1938, the Majestic partly functioned as a hotel, for which René Lalique had filed a design with the patent office in the same month of that year with the name Majestic Plafonnier Grosse Boule as lighting for various rooms. Unfortunately, because the closing of the hotel coincided unknowingly with the date of the design, the ceiling lamps would never find their way to their final destination. The production of approximately sixty units had meanwhile taken place, but remained on the shelf until after the war. Apart from a single old catalog photo of Lalique, no contemporary images of this design exist in situ.

Naturally, the hotel was confiscated by the occupying forces during the Second World War. Between 1946 and 1956 it also served as the headquarters of Unesco. Peace accords were signed. Since 2008 it has been owned by a hotel chain under the new name The Peninsula Paris.

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