Ask A Worthologist Question: Heinrich Hoffmann Glass Perfume Bottle
Jesse V. purchased this “Lalique perfume bottle” from a dealer at a discount for $350 because it was an “unmarked Lalique.” After doing a great deal of research using the Worthpoint’s Worthopedia, he hadn’t found a match for it to anything made by the Lalique glass company. After engaging WorthPoint’s Ask a Worthologist, Jesse learned the piece is not by Lalique, not French but still it is not a fake.
Jesse V. purchased this “Lalique perfume bottle” from a dealer at a discount for $350 because it was an “unmarked Lalique.” After doing a great deal of research using the Worthpoint’s Worthopedia, he hadn’t found a match for it to anything made by the Lalique glass company. Thinking he’d been sold a fake, but wants some verification before he returns it to the shop for a refund, he contacted WorthPoint’s Ask a Worthologist service to find out what the true story could be. His request was forwarded to me, here’s his question:
“I bought this piece from a dealer who attributed it to Lalique, circa 1930. I’d seen some Lalique bottles before; this piece looked similar and appeared to be good quality. He also gave me a deal because it was “unmarked,” so I bought it for $350. After getting it home I thought I’d see what I could find out about the piece, I looked up some sites online the dealt in Lalique and looked hundreds of pieces listed in Worthpoint’s Worthopedia, trying to find a match, but no luck. I plan on taking it back to the dealer and get a refund, or at least an explanation or some proof of why he thought this was Lalique, but need some information to back up my demand for a refund.”
Here’s my response.
“Lalique” has almost become a generic term for Art Deco-style frosted/molded glass, and much of it attributed to the house of Lalique is not even French glass. Personally, I’ve never seen a piece of Lalique that was not marked; the markings used being relief or intaglio molded, etched or engraved, as can be seen here. Like many companies whose work has caught the public’s attention and wallet, other companies were soon to follow their lead and produce similar items to grab some share of the market. In the case of Lalique, glass works in Czechoslovakia were quick to produce their own lines of “Lalique Style” glass, as well as French firms such as Sabino, Etling and Verlys .
The piece you bought is not by Lalique, it is not French, but it is not a fake.
Based on the images, this is an example of Czechoslovakian glass done much in the style of Lalique, it’s design depicting the myth of “Leda and the Swan,” in which the Greek god Zeus came to Leda in the form of a swan. It’s not by Lalique but made by the firm of Heinrich Hoffmann (1875-1939).
Hoffmann really did not need to make any apologies to Rene Lalique in regards to style or quality, as Hoffmann was a contemporary of Lalique’s, getting his start like Lalique at the turn of the 20th century, producing Art Nouveau-style glass. Hoffmann’s glass was marked, though you might miss it; he most often used an open winged butterfly marking or a wheel engraved mark like this. While your piece is not Lalique, I would not be in a big hurry to take it back to the dealer for a refund, as you got the better part of the deal: Hoffmann perfume bottles like this often sell for $500 or more.
Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.
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