• 20th Century Decorative Art  & auction at Christies

    Sale 7759

    20th Century Decorative Art & Design

    27 October 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 20

    EMILE GALLÉ (1846-1904)

    SET OF SIX CHAIRS, 1889

    Price Realised  

    EMILE GALLÉ (1846-1904)
    SET OF SIX CHAIRS, 1889
    cherry, the backs inlaid with various woods, each with a different design: daffodils, pine cones, fruiting holly, cornflowers, flowering plant with butterflies and flowering branch with butterflies
    37½ in. (95 cm.) high
    daffodil and pine cones with horizontal inlaid mark GALLÉ; fruiting holly and cornflowers with vertical inlaid mark GALLÉ; flowering plant and flowering branch with branded mark Emile Gallé Nancy EG and Cross of Lorraine, one chair Exposition 1889 (6)


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    This exceptional suite of chairs draws attention to a significant moment in the rich and multi-facetted career of Emile Gallé. The mark that confirms their inclusion in the Exposition Universelle of 1889 situates them at the start of an important new venture. For this exhibition was the context in which the artist, already well established as a master of glass and of faience, first unveiled his ambitions as a furniture maker. The chairs perfectly express the stylistic strands that he was to interweave so effectively and so consistently though his creations. Unlike certain more radical contemporaries, he maintained a respect for traditional furniture forms - in this instance the silhouette calls to mind the style of the era of Henri IV. Yet Gallé's individuality is unmistakably evidenced in the decorative marquetry that takes its inspiration, at once accurately and elegantly, from nature.

    A chair of this design can be seen in contemporary photograph of Gallé's home, La Garenne, in Nancy, alongside other emblematic examples of his conceptual and technical skill as a creator of furniture in a new idiom.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 15% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.


    Provenance

    The John and Katsy Mecom Collection, Part II, Sotheby's New York, 26 November, 1993, lot 141;
    Private European Collection


    Literature

    Jean-François Brabant, Emile Gallé et Victor Prouvé Une Alliance Pour Le Mobilier, 2002, p. 7 (design illustrated)