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What is this?

On framing plaques, two nudes, personifications of Night, toss showers of stars into sky. In central portion, nine large blue sapphires amid diamond stars and constellations recreate the Milky Way.

Why is this in our collection?

René Lalique explored allegorical themes in his jewelry designs, influenced primarily by depictions of the natural world in Japanese design of the period. This design for a corsage ornament depicts an allegory of time. Two female nudes—both personifications of Night—toss diamond stars into an evening sky conveyed by sapphires and diamond stars. This drawing is the only visual record of a lost fantastical jewel that was first presented at the 1900 l’Exposition Universelle in Paris. Displayed beneath a decorative canopy of stars and bats, the jewel cemented Lalique’s reputation as a preeminent designer of jewelry in the Art Nouveau style. His designs frequently incorporated flowers, insects, animals and nude forms using sumptuous materials, including gold, silver, diamonds, and pearls. But, like his contemporary Fabergé, he also helped popularize humble gemstones and materials such as enamel, jasper, ivory, coral, and glass. Actress Sarah Bernhardt was among the most famous wearers of Lalique’s highly-coveted jewelry.

This is a drawing from France. It is dated ca. 1900 and we acquired it in 1998. Museum purchase from Drawings and Prints Council Fund through gift of The Florence Gould Foundation.

This image is on display This object is currently on display in room 206 as part of Making Design.

Its medium is

brush and watercolor, graphite, brush and gouache on brownish, translucent wove paper, possibly coated with resin

Its dimensions are

21.9 x 27.9 cm (8 5/8 x 11 in.)

It has the following markings

Watermark: B RIVES

This object was designed by René Lalique

This object was purchased from Barry Friedman Ltd.

A timeline of event horizons

This object has been included in the following exhibitions:

See more stuff from the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Drawing, Design for a Corsage Ornament: Night, ca. 1900 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=3 August 2015 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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