Stephen Wijnants, life through Lalique

Installed for nearly 30 years at Paul Bert Serpette, the booth of Stephen Wijnants is a real invitation to sharing for all collectors and curious seeking the finest pieces of Lalique House. This scholar antique dealer makes a point of sharing his passion and to go even further in the discovery of new pieces.

What is your background ?

I first studied law for two years in Nice but I have heard about the Ecole du Louvre. Wanting absolutely to come live in Paris, I took the opportunity to do this school and to settle there. Thus I did 4 years at the Ecole du Louvre, then an equivalent in Art History at the Sorbonne

I had clerical friends at auctioneers and I often went to Drouot. It put me a foot in the door. We started to put a small stock of goods aside with a friend, Hubert Badetz, with the aim of opening a booth at Serpette. We had friends from Drouot who worked at Serpette and when we came to visit them, we realized that this market was so crowded that we could not cross it. It made us very excited to see this potential of customers and possible encounters. We first had a booth in the yard Serpette, at the time when it was not covered. We sold pieces of tableware and we documented a lot on the porcelain houses, the glassmakers who had made exhibitions, the history of the table and its evolution

We then had the opportunity to take the booth I currently occupy, it was 28 years ago. One day, my partner arrived with small dessert plates Lalique. I was not immediately conquered by these pieces but they sold so fast that it made us react and we decided to look at something else. So we went in that direction.

Tell us about your specialty

Lalique is my specialty. It is a catalog that marries as well mural decorations, ceiling lights, mural lights as door handles, mirrors, boxes or even extraordinary bottle. The catalog is so vast that today I still meet objects that I have never seen. I am still extremely impressed by the quality of the detail, the mold, the timelessness of the drawing. There is a diversity of objects that can be put in any decor. It is a huge range that we never tire of and that we can show with his favorite hearts and personal approaches. This allows a great freedom. By extension, it allows me to work on the entire period between 1900 and 1950 which is very rich and where the best artists of their time were able to express themselves through the industrialization of the working tool that allowed them to make their production more public, but with a manual quality finish. This is also a time that has benefited from various sources of inspiration. It is difficult to get out from this period because we do not find this same quality elsewhere. The series are increasingly important and we gradually lost this connection with the artist.

What does Paul Bert Serpette represent for you?

All the market value may lie in the goods diversity, the plurality of antique dealers who make this selection, their mix of ages bring something significant and complementary. Paul Bert Serpette is also a market that stands out for its comfort.

Which piece of your booth would you like to highlight ?

At the moment, I present this cap of car radiator which has a very beautiful amethyst hue and a fabulous molding. At a time when cars were objects of great luxury, one could buy at Lalique small mascots that one placed on the hoods. There were victories, but also animals, just like this Longchamps, called this way in tribute to horse racing. When these pieces did not come to adorn the cars radiators, Lalique reintroduced these mascots under other forms, such as paper presses, or in the form of interior ornamentation statuettes. Doing something new with old is something that is often found in Lalique.


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