A very striking early 20th Century mould blown soufflé glass vase decorated with deep red hanging fruit amongst large leaves against a warm yellow field with excellent colour and very fine detail, signed Gallé.
Emile Gallé was initially inspired by historical cameo glass and went on to develop the technique with his particular blend of artistry and technical expertise, making him the master of Art Nouveau cameo and the inspiration for many French factories.
Gallé’s rare early cameo vases are masterpieces of precision and manual dexterity. They were produced using the same techniques that had been used in antiquities: different coloured layers of glass were fused, and the top layer of glass was then hand-carved to make the design stand proud. Gallé took this basic process several steps further. He increased the number of colours, sometimes using as many as five. He eliminated the sharp colour contrasts, preferring to cut away the colours at various levels to create shading, subtle colour gradations, atmosphere, and perspective. Foil inclusions, fire polishing, and the martelé (hammered metal effect) technique added extra texture, as did further hand carving of the design, such as leaf veins.
From about 1899, Gallé began commercial production of Art Nouveau cameo, making increasing use of acid etching. This was employed on Gallé’s “standard”, or middle-range, cameo pieces, which were of consistently high quality but lacked the creative spirit of the unique pieces that were made either by Gallé or one of his master craftsmen. After Gallé’s death in 1904, production included large quantities of lamp and vases in simplified shape and colours. The majority had two, at most three, layers of colour, and the decoration was stencilled on before the piece was acid etched. Very few had hand finishing.
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Category: Emile Gallé Antique Glass.
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