‘Dicentra’ Cameo Vase by Gallé

‘Dicentra’ Cameo Vase by Gallé
  • Art Nouveau Emile Gallé Cameo Hearts Vase
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A striking late 19th Century French cameo glass vase of bulbous form, the eye catching variegating red dicentra floral design, acid cut and etched against a vibrant yellow field, signed in cameo Gallé. To learn about the life, works, influences, style and techniques Gallé used, take a look at our blog about this wonderful Art Nouveau artist here.

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£ 3,350

Additional Information





Cameo Glass

Emile Gallé Glass

Gallé Vase – The Gallé factory had its origin in a mirror glass work shop established by Charles Gallé in Nancy, France, in the 1840’s. Initially the glass was produced for Gallé by the Pantin and Saint-Denis glassworks in Paris, and from 1864 by Burgun, Schverer & Cie, close to his decorating workshop at Meisenthal. His son, Emile Gallé (1846 ~ 1904), spent three years at Meisenthal learning about glass making after completing his studies in art, mineralogy, and botany in 1865. He established an experimental studio there and began to design glass. After several years of travel, he returned to Nancy in 1873 and set up a small decorating workshop, and the following year he took over the running of his father’s business. Under Emile Gallé’s leadership glass production was greatly expanded, and the range of goods made under the Gallé name encompassed furniture and metalworks as well as ceramics. Initially Gallé disapproved of transulucent gand opaque glass and of ‘short-cut’ techniques such as acid etching, and his interest was confined to producing transparent glass with polychrome enamelled or engraved decoration. He based his early shapes and patterns on historical precedents, particularly 18th Century porcelain. Soon, however, his passion for nature became his main source of inspiration. Plants depicted with painstaking botanical accuracy were his new subject matter, along with minutely detailed insects, freely arranged in a style influenced by contemporary Japanese ceramics and metalwork. At the International Exhibition in Pairs in 1878, Gallé won four gold medals. This exhibition marked a turning point in his work, however, as it was here that he was first exposed to the art glass of Eugène Rousseau (1827 ~ 1891) and first saw the work of English cameo artists such as John Northwood (1836 ~ 1902). Rousseau’s glass, inspired by the colours and textures of hard stone and lichens, made a deep impression on Gallé, prompting him to start experimenting with coloured glass and to create designs based on rock crystal, agate and gems.

In 1833 the decorating workshops at Nancy were expanded, although the bulk of production was still carried out on Gallè’s behalf by Burgun, Schverer & Cie at Meisenthal. In 1884 Gallé displayed glass decorated with opaque and translucent enamels and metallic inclusions at an exhibitiong in Paris called La Pierre, le Bois, la Terre, le Verre (stone, wood, clay and glass). Later inspired by the works of Joseph Brocard, he made a series of vases inspired by a Persian mosque lamps, enamelled with dense, intricate, Moorish patterns. From this date Gallés designs became incresingly liberated. Abandoning the self-imposed technical constraints that characterised his earlier work, he experimented with a full palette of colours and a complex repetoire of glass decorating techniques.

In the 1880s Gallé mastered the technique of cameo glass, producing vessels with up to seven layers of cased colour, sometimes containing metallic inclusions, cut back to varying levels, first by acid-etching, then by wheel carving. he also developed a technique called ‘blowing out,’ whereby vases with two or three layers of cased colour were blown into relief-patterned molds. Some pieces were then decorated with enamels or gilding or, like the contemporary Japanese metalwork, they were given three-dimensional sculptural additions, such as dragonflies. This added a further element of naturalism to Gallé’s designs, the shape and patterns of which were already strongly organic. He aspired to use glass as a direct form of creative expression, seeking to raise it to the level of other arts such as sculpture, painting, and literature. For him, glass was closely associated with poetry, an idea which led to the development of his verreries parlantes or ‘vitrified poetry’ vessels inscribed the lines of verse. A precursor and the chief protagonist of Art Nouveau, Gallé caused a sensation when his new cameo glass was shown at the Paris International Exhibition in 1889. The repercussions of the style and techniques that he popularised would be felt well into the next Century.

In 1894 Gallé built a large new factory at Nancy – The Cristallerie d’Emile Gallé which enabled him to produce his own glass for the first time. In his lifetime the factory employed around 300 people at it’s peak, a figure that rose to 500 after his death this was to meet the huge demand for his work.

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SKU: 5584

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