Who is Veronique Brumm ?
During my trip to Wingen sur Moder, I met Veronique Brumm, a discreet but passionate person, with a strong personality, who is the Director of the Lalique Museum. Coming from Wingen sur Moder, she is there, ever since the origin of the Museum. That is why, I suggest to get to know her better, through her career path.
Who is Veronique Bumm ?
Just in a few words and broadly speaking, which is your career path ?
Veronique Brumm First of all, I come from Wingen sur Moder. So, I was brought up in this village, which is marked by glass factories. On the other hand, my father inaugurated the Meisenthal Museum. Thanks to him, I learned about the craftsmanship of the trade, and all the preparation of an exhibition. Perhaps, it might be, that at the age of four, I was fascinated by the vase with the frogs of the Museum. Nevertheless, it is ever since the age of fifteen, that I knew, I did not want to teach, but to work for a Museum !
As an historian trainee, I became interested in the glass history, located in the Northern Vosges, and more specially in the glass factories of Wingen sur Moder, Meisenthal Goetzenbruck and Saint Louis, likewise it’s social and technical history. So, from the local history, I was able to have access to the great history.
Thanks to various traineeships, I developed an interest in the artistic side, at the Decorative Arts Museum, in Paris. Finally, after my Doctorate in the heritage of the european glass and crystal industry, I was lucky to be able to follow the project of the Lalique Museum. So, I am now at the head of the establishment, ever since it’s opening, in 2011.
What interests and passionates you most, in the glass manufactories ?
Veronique Brumm In fact, the work of the glass and of the crystal is linked to the fire. Moreover, it is just a magical alchemy, besides all the art of the glass work. Ultimately, it is fascinating to state such a development from the Antiquity up to today, although the craftsmanships, the technics,along with the gesture of the glass are still the same.
In fact which are the differences between Wingen-sur-Moder, Meisenthal, Goetzenbruck and Saint Louis ?
Veronique Brumm Each one have a very different style. The work of the cut glass and the engraving are very i mportant at Saint Louis. On the other hand, Meisenthal is concentrated on the utilitarian objects, as it has been influenced by the Art Nouveau, with Emile Gallé. Today, the international Glass Art Center develops partnerships with artists. On their side,Goetzenbruck has concentrated onto the optical glass.
Finally, Lalique was a creator, for whom the work of the light, the transparency and the glazing were his guided line. On the other hand, one must remember that Lalique was, before anything else, a creator, but also a business man and a manufacturer. All in all, he was a complete man.
What fascinates you most at the House of Lalique ?
Veronique Brumm René Lalique worshipped Beauty. However he made a point to make beauty reasonable. More, he was really a visionary person.
What are your favorite Lalique pieces ?
Veronique Brumm I am very fond of Suzanne Lalique’s work, who is René Lalique’s daughter. I appreciate specially, the Tourbillon Vase with its geometrical shapes. As a matter of fact, I consider that she has contributed a lot, to develop her father’s work. More, her discusions along with her creative emulations allowed René Lalique to keep up with the times.
Otherwise, the tiara bottle Leurs Ames d’ Orsay, and the one of the Œillet are exceptional,of a great artistic work and rare. But, I also like Pavot d’Argent, from Roger & Gallet, one of Suzanne’s work. More, it is a real beautiful piece, designed from models, without never altering the shapes of the original bottle.
Finally, Silvio Denz, owner of the House of Lalique, has a fabulous collection with a great number of René Lalique bottles. In fact, we have around 230 pieses shown at the permanent exhibition of the museum. For my part, I am specially fond of the bottle of the « Fish ». It represents a real technical feat, thanks to the lost wax, as the emboss is inside.
Do tell me how you define the theme of the yearly exhibition ?
It derives from a lot of discussions and exchanges at the heart of the museum team.
Can you tell us, in a few words about this new exhibition ?
Veronique Brumm Once the choice made, I made a point to research to what I could contribute differently. So, that is how it became my guided line. Nevertheless, the challenge is to stay on the same optic, and be in coherence with the Lalique Museum, at the same time.
The exhibition, The invention of the Modern Perfume is 200 square meters wide, and is focused in four parts : the perfumer’s universe, the perfumed offerings to the art of seduction, the meeting between the glass manufacturer and the perfumer, the perfumed poems along with the intimate poems. This latter section is finalizing the exhibition. After all this run, I wanted a comeback to the intimate, which is one of the attributes of the perfume. In fact, this idea came up during a discussion with Alexandre Fruch, the scenographer.
You have one exhibition per year. Among the last seven exhibitions, which one was the most successful ?
Véronique Brumm It was with no doubt, Lalique and the Art of Travel, in 2016. This exhibition paid an homage to Lalique’s work and collaborations on trains, steamers and cars.I really think that it’s diversity moved the public. Finaly, it allowed to discover Lalique’s unknown universe.
You are here ever since the start of the project of the Lalique Museum. What is your positive outlook onto the Museum, and how do you plan to improve it ?
Véronique Brumm The Lalique Museum represents a fantastic adventure, but we were facing a challenge,as we wanted to place the glass at the heart of the Museum. This, in order to offer to the visitor all the keys, to understand the craftmanship of the Lalique glass.
Finally, above all, replace the work in a wider framework, pointed out by the 1900, 1925 exhibitions, along with the magnitude of the Sacred Art… Today, I wish to approach the know-how and the contribution of the human beeings. In one word, bring more of a human atmosphere into the heart of the Museum, through multimedias and audios
The Lalique Museum had no collections of its own. It needed to be rebuilt. Which is your first and latest piece of collection ?
Véronique Brumm The adventure started with the »la Femme Libellule Aile Ouverte » bought by the community of the village of the Pays de la Petite Pierre, which was given to the Museum. Otherwise, the House of Lalique has given numerous pieces. However, the Museum has been able to buy pieces at auctions, thanks to philanthropy. Also, without taking into account the loans of private collections, loans on deposit from the Decorative Art Museum along with the Art and Crafts Museum.
Furthermore, thanks to the Friends of the Lalique Museum, a very dynamic association, they have allowed us to buy a Vase Bacchante, a unique piece, designed in 1927, which is since 1926, a best seller of the House of Lalique.
What is the story behind the Lalique Museum ?
Veronique Brumm We are located at Wingen-sur-Moder, which is a village with an important glass manufacturing past, such as the René Lalique manufacture, in 1921 and the Hochberg one, in 1715 till 1868. The building is classified on the French Supplementary Historic Monuments list since 2016. So, this location became an evidence.
After an international architecture competition, in 2005, it’s the Wilmotte Agency, associated with the Chiodetti and Crupi architects from Colmar, that won. After all, the new buildings fuse in the scenery, while respecting the topography, highligthed with the gardens.
As far as the construction of the new buidings is concerned, the architects chose concrete decorated with stones and glass, so to match in harmony, the old buildings. Besides the permanent and temporary exhibition rooms, along with the reserves, itis provided with an auditorium of 85 seats, a boutique, a restaurant and educational workshops…
Which is the iconic work of the Museum ?
Veronique Brumm As far as I am concerned, thre are three iconic pieces, such as the Marc Lalique chandelier, the Femme Ailée in 1900 and the cars mascots.
The Lalique chandelier
It welcomes the visitor right from the entrance of the museum ! It is 3 meters high, weighs around 1,7 tons, a real giant of crystal,madewith a metallic structure of 337 pieces.
Marc Lalique designed this monumental chandelier, in 1951, for the Art of the Glass exhibition. It illuminated then, the nave of the Museum of the Decorative Arts of Paris. As trustee for this chandelier, for more than 60 years, and not able to find the ideal location to highlight it, when being reintalled, the prisian museum offered to to transfer this exceptional work of art to the Lalique Museum. So, the House of Lalique agreed to it and to restore it.
Therefore, in order to revive this chandelier, 60 pieces were restored along with 59 others, that were identically reproducedby the Laliqur workshops, at Wingen-sur-Moder. For this occasion ; moulds had tobe manufactured, and the pieces checked by a dozen of experts hands ! The metal structure was also checked, and the bulbs placed at the same spots. Thanks to this work, nearly sixty years after, this chandelier has a new life again, and sparkles for the greatest pleasure of the visitors to the Museum.
La Femme Ailée of 1900
As soon as from 1895, the jewels are recognized as an art in it’s own right, while Lalique shows his works at the French Artists Society fair. He renews then ,all the materials that he uses with enamel, ivory or glass, and his drawings, with in particular a feminine figure, which is transformed into a fabulous creature.
During an auction, two passionate of the Lalique creations bought one those women with winhs, and decded to leave in deosit this exceptionla piece at the Wingen-sur-Mder, Lalique Museum. Fond of the Lalique creations, either jewels or glass work of art of the artist, the two collectioners and experts complete their collection, with the desire to share their passion to the greatest number of visitors. This, why they have accepted to lend many pieces to the Lalique Museum.
Finally, Silvio Denz, the owner of the House of Lalique, has a fabulous collection with many René Lalique’s bottles.. In fact, we have 230 pieces that are shown at the permanent exhibition of the Museum. On my part, I have a preference for the bottle Poison. It is a real technical feat, as the embossed pattern is inside, thanks to the lost wax technic.