This vase, decorated with kingfishers on a background of reeds, is one of the highlights of an extraordinary collection of glass made by the acclaimed jeweler and glassmaker René Lalique. Dating primarily to the years between 1912 and 1936, this collection of approximately 400 objects was the gift of Stanford and Elaine Steppa. Lalique’s first career was as a jeweler. He apprenticed with the Parisian jeweler Louis Aucoc, and in 1892, he opened his own workshop on the rue Thérèse. It was there that he began to incorporate cast glass into his distinctive Art Nouveau–style jewelry designs. Lalique opened his first retail store in 1905, near the shop of the parfumier François Coty in the Place Vendôme. By 1908, he was producing glass perfume bottles for the forward-thinking Coty in a rented glassworks in the suburb of Combs-la-Ville. His interest in glass quickly grew, and he began to file patents for the large-run production techniques that he developed. In 1911, he held his first all-glass show at the Place Vendôme, and his reputation as a maker of luxury glass was established. During World War I, the Combs-la-Ville glassworks was forced to close, despite Lalique’s financial success, and he began construction of a new factory at Wingen-sur-Moder, in eastern France. The Wingen factory opened in 1921, and Lalique began making the Art Deco–style vases and statuettes for which he is best known. The Steppa collection includes a variety of Lalique’s production, ranging from the famous pressed glass vases to ashtrays, boxes, clocks, car mascots, lamps, perfumes, statuettes, inkwells and blotters, and tableware. Signed “748/752-11-30 / R. LALIQUE FRANCE.” The Museum owns an original wax model that would have been used for another vase of this design (81.7.12). Published in Félix Marcilhac, René Lalique, 1860–1945, maître-verrier: Analyse de l’oeuvre et catalogue raisonné, Paris: Editions de l’Amateur, 1989, p. 1059. For more information, see Nicholas M. Dawes, Lalique Glass, New York: Crown, 1986.