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ÉMILE GALLÉ (1846-1904)
ÉMILE GALLÉ (1846-1904)
ÉMILE GALLÉ (1846-1904)
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ÉMILE GALLÉ (1846-1904)
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ÉMILE GALLÉ (1846-1904)


ÉMILE GALLÉ (1846-1904)
Important and Rare 'Brize D'Amour' Vase, 1904
double-layered marbled crystal imitating agate, with a translucent bottom and a light brown outer layer, applied with wheel-engraved Amourettes ears, hot-applied blue and green marbled crystal and hot-applied amber crystal handle, also decorated with wheel-carved Amourettes ears
11 1⁄4 x 6 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄8 in. (28.6 x 16.5 x 10.4 cm)
engraved Gallé
Emanuel Vozner, Toronto
Acquired from the above by the present owner
A. Duncan and G. de Bartha, Glass by Gallé, New York, 1984, pp. 78 and 82
P. Thiébaut, Gallé: Paris, Musée du Luxembourg, 29 November 1985-2 February 1986, Paris, 1985, p. 237
A. Duncan, The Paris Salons 1895-1914, Vol. IV: Ceramics and Glass, Woodbridge, 1998, p. 234
C. Debize, Emile Gallé and the Ecole de Nancy, Metz, 1999, p. 50
Émile Gallé et le verre: La collection du Musée de L'École de Nancy, Paris, 2004, p. 179 and 185, no. 316 (for a related example)
Émile Gallé, 100 ans apres sa mort, exh. cat., The Hida Takayama Museum of Art, Japan, 2005, no. 64 (for a related example without a foot)

Brought to you by

Daphné Riou
Daphné Riou Specialist, Head of Department

Lot Essay

Christie's would like to thank François Le Tacon for his assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.

Created in 1904, this spectacular ‘Brize d’Amour’ Vase was one of Gallé’s latest works before his death in September 1904. An example of this vase was shown at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts of 1905 in Paris, after Gallé’s death. Despite a pernicious anemia which considerably reduced his work time, Gallé kept producing until his last moments, creating some of his greatest masterworks. In a letter written to Jules Henrivaux on 30th August 1904, he wrote: “Personally I have freed myself up from all the miseries who painfully afflicted me when I was exhibiting, exhibited, industrial etc. I hope to see yourself in a beautiful and pure sphere, where we will, without work, enjoy the law of light, which we have applied; we will be drenched in it, everything will be paternally explained.”

Reminiscent of his ultimate La main aux algues et aux coquillages in the collections of the Musée d’Orsay (inventory no. OAO 1207), Brize dAmour presents an extraordinary color palette, very luminous, mysterious and evocative of Gallé’s mysticism. The body, in double-layered crystal, imitates agate. It is decorated with deeply engraved ‘Amourettes’ ears, on a hot-applied indigo knop and blue and green marbled foot, blown separately. This technique was described by Gallé in Ecrits pour lArt: “other colorations are not uniform but complicated with incorporated tones, and come from the desire of reproduce natural materials, hard stones, gems and the precious accidents that are quartz, agates, ambers and jades. Hence the numerous mottles and marbling in the composition, some of them opaque, some of them transparent, the blending, the hot-application, the overlay of successful layers variously colored, and some decorations, if I may say, caught into two glasses, some of them intended, some of them unexpected.”

The dynamic shape, a re-interpretation of an 18th century ewer, reinforce the impression of movement of the amourettes or shivery grass blowing in the wind. A slender annual plant, shivery grass (Briza media) is recognizable through its clusters of small shivering, nodding green spikelets, held on very fine branches. Spikelets are composed of overlapping layers and a seed is held within each layer. Two delicate beetles, in light pink and iridized green glass, also adorn the surface of the vase.

A passionate devotee of botany, Gallé participated in the creation of the Central Horticultural Society in Nancy. His motto “our roots are in the depth of the wood, amongst the moss, around the sources,” decorated the doors of the Gallé workshop and reveals the connection with nature felt by all the artists of the Ecole de Nancy. As a symbolist, Gallé also aspired to convey through glass a sense of the immaterial. Inspired by the poets, he absorbed the use of nature in art as a mean to evoke a reality beyond the world of sensory appearances. Art critic Roger Marx, a friend of Gallé, wrote: “the work of Gallé is as unfathomable as a mysterious temple where nobody may enter without encountering trouble… Whilst grace and beauty adorn the outside, the flame of the spirit shines in the depth of the sanctuary.”

Three versions of this sumptuous carved glassware exists in at least three different versions. The first one, the Fourcaud Vase, belongs to the collections of the École de Nancy Museum (inventory no. HH3). This version, decorated with pink laurel, owes its name to the person for whom it was intended, Louis Boussès de Fourcaud, professor of aesthetics at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. It was offered to him in gratitude for the writing in 1902 of the first Gallé’s biography. A dedication is engraved under the pedestal: To / Louis de Boussès de Fourcaud/ in all affection of mind/ and heart/ 1904 Em. Gallé. A second version is in the collection of the Museum of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris (inventory no. 14000-0000). The shape is identical to that of the Fourcaud vase, but the oleander has been replaced by a martagon lily flower. The punctuations of the petals are simulated by pink applications. The third version is the one with the Amourettes presented here and the only example of this shape known to exist today. A variant, without a foot, is in the collection of the Hida Takayama Museum in Japan (Émile Gallé, 100 ans apres sa mort, exhibition catalogue, The Hida Takayama Museum of Art, Japan, 2005, no. 64).

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