Rene Lalique, France, Ondines Opalescent Bowl, c. 1921


Ondines opalescent bowl measures 8.125″ (21 cm.) Very good condition, minor surface scratches on bottom.

Signed Lalique, etched France.  No repairs, no flea bites.

This piece was deaccessioned from the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Availability: In stock

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Ondine is an alternate spelling of Undine, a word that first appeared in the alchemical (let’s say pseudo scientific) writings of the 16th century Swiss physician Paracelsus. He is known as the “father of toxicology” and is famous for the expression “sola dosis facit venenum” or “only the dose makes the poison”. Basically, everything is poison if you take enough of it. You can die from drinking too much water for example. Anyway, in the alchemic world, he hypothesized that what were considered in his day to be the four classical elements: earth, water, air, and fire, were each inhabited by various spirits or creatures. These elemental spirits lived in the space of, but in a different reality than humans. The Ondines were the water spirits. Usually female in type, they were typically found near waterfalls, pools of water, and at or near the sea. Nereides and Naiades are two members of the group. Many writers, artists, and others have developed these creatures over time. The modern day Mermaid is one such example. The loose and fantastic definition of the Ondines was like a blank canvas for Lalique’s own wonderfully artistic interpretations that are evident in the myriad of his objects featuring these mythical elemental beings.