Model No: 1123 Comete. Created August 1925
On July 4, 1925, in Paris, the inauguration of the Decorative Arts exhibition is an opportunity for André Citroën to market his brand and assert his advertising genius. With the help of the engineer Fernand Jacopozzi, the Eiffel Tower was transformed into one of the most sensational spectacles in the world history of advertising: 200,000 light bulbs of 6 different colours arranged on the four sides of this 300 meter high tower lit up with 9 alternating geometric patterns: signs of the zodiac, rain or shooting stars, surrounding of course the Citroën name with its symbolic double chevron.
This extraordinary kinetic sculpture was, it was said, visible 40 kilometres away. René LALIQUE meanwhile was able to contemplate it on the privileged top floor of his building, located at 40 Cours 1er, on the opposite bank of the Seine, less than a kilometre by flight of a bird. The poetry and excess of this event inspired René LALIQUE to create what symbolises speed, fragility, a burst of ephemeral life, perfectly translucent and capturing every ray of light, designed solely to become the figurehead of a luxurious car.
Thus the Comete car mascot was conceived and designed in that same month and year, and created as an art deco object de luxe to purchase the following month.
Clear (white) glass press molded (Marcilhac states collées a chaud', two parts warm bonded, but this in doubt and likely a single, though no doubt complex, mold was used).
Examples with a molded signature in relief or intaglio wheel-cut signature exist. Personal opinion is the wheel cut versions are slightly later production, possibly the molded signature wore in the original mold.
Price (1932 Lalique et Cie Catalogue): 275FF
Breves of Knightsbridge, London UK titled this model ’The Comet’ and listed a price of £3/3/0 ‘unilluminated' or £4/4/0 ‘for light’ using the patented Breves illuminated mount. A bulb was 3/s and Duty was 10/6.
Nil Melior, a prominent auto accessories company whose showrooms were located at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, listed the Comete in their earlier catalogue as 'Comete' for $25, with an illuminated base for an additional $5.
Other names for this mascot - Comete, Comet, The Comet. Mascotte, Hood Ornament, Car Mascot, Bouchon de Radiateur, Radiator Cap.
Comete is one of the rarer Lalique radiator caps, likely as it could only be used as such and would not stand upright without being placed in a dedicated mount. Auction prices of GBP £80K and USD $120K have been achieved by Christies and Bonhams respectively.
Appeared in 1928 and 1932 Lalique Catalogue. Removed from 1937 Catalogue.
No known reissue in crystal post 1947, not marketed today.