Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Émile Gallé: The Forgotten Art Nouveau Master

 


 

Art Nouveau was at its peak from 1890-1910. The style reigned in art, architecture, furniture and even clothing. It was a means of bringing nature, especially abstract versions of plants and floral, into sinuous and flowing motifs. One of the art forms that thrived during that time was glass as a medium. It lead to a resurgence of stained glass as well as appreciation for blown glass and molded glass.

There are some names known for the beauty and innovation of their glass works such as Lalique and Tiffany. Yet, there were others who created equally beautiful glass objects, but whose names have not continued into the 20th century and beyond. Among that group is Émile Gallé (1846-1904), This is in spite of his reputation as one of the most innovative Art Nouveau glass designers.  

Gallé's innovations included such techniques as glass marquetry and patinated glass (the latter technique he patented).


He also experimented with inorganic compounds and metals to create new colors - many adopted into common usage by other glass makers.

 

His glass works were considered to be the finest glassware on the market with their beautiful forms, rich color and inspired decoration. Today, if you are in Nancy, France, be sure to view the 400 pieces of his glass works and ceramics at the Musée de l'École de Nancy.

 

 

 

One last thing: Gallé's talent wasn't limited to glass, he also created beauty in ceramics and furniture. Perhaps topics for another time... Next week: His interns who became famous for Art Deco glass works.