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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 'Cycas revoluta' Vase, circa 1903-1904
cameo glass with acid-etched leaves of Cycas and iridized hot-applied red cabochons
20 in. (50.7 cm) high, 12 3⁄4 in. (32.4 cm) diameter
engraved Gallé
Georges Boulay, Nancy
Thence by descent
Acquired by the present owner at auction, France, circa 1994
Société Lorraine des Amis des Arts, Nancy, 1904, no. 104
A. Duncan and G. de Bartha, Glass by Galle, New York, 1984, p. 158
F. Le Tacon, L’oeuvre de verre d’Emile Gallé, Paris, 1998, p. 162 for a related example
Emile Gallé et le verre: La collection du Musée de L'École de Nancy, Paris, 2004, pp. 204-205, no. 375 (for a related example)
C. Keller-Didier, "La Société Centrale d’Horticulture de Nancy", une jeunesse de 140 ans. Jardins de France, 2018, n° 651
Post Lot Text
Final image: Sketch of a selection of lamps and glassware, displayed by Galle at the Exposition of the Societe Lorraine des Amis des Arts, Nancy, artist unknown, 1904.

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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.

This vase of exceptional scale was in the collection of George Boulay, “Bâtonnier” (lead attorney) in Nancy and, like Emile Gallé, President of the Société Centrale d’Horticulture de Nancy, from 1920 to 1934. An art collector, passionate botanist and accomplished musician, Boulay gave a new impulsion to the Société d’Horticulture of Nancy during the Roaring Twenties, with a series of events (exhibitions, balls, etc.) where he invited the fashionable and affluent elite of the city at the time. This vase also appears to have been displayed at the Société Lorraine des Amis des Arts, Nancy, in 1904, described as a “luminous vase” and represented on a watercolor by Gallé from the period. An exceptional ‘Cycas’ cabinet was also presented there, whose location is unknown today.

Cycas revoluta’ takes its inspiration from the plant of that name, a species of palm-like tree native to southern Japan and belonging to an ancient lineage. The plant gives form to the acid-etched leaves and the iridized red cabochons simulating the ovules of the plant.

The present lot is very close to the ‘Cycas revoluta’ Lamp, in the collection du musée de l’Ecole de Nancy (inv. 988.6.1), which was given to Georges Le Monnier in 1904. Le Monnier, Professor at the Faculty of Sciences in Nancy, was named a knight in the order of the Legion of Honor. To show their gratitude and appreciation, his students decided to launch a subscription to commission a work from Emile Gallé, himself a friend and admirer of Le Monnier. Engraved with a quote by Edgar Quinet (“L’âme vraie est sur le chemin de toutes les vérités / The true soul is on the way to all truths), it differs from the present lot through a carved oak base and a bulbous top with the same applied cabochons.

The choice of the Cycas revoluta was very symbolic: this primitive gymnosperm is a real living fossil, located at the very base of the evolutionary scale of flowering plants, which Georges Le Monnier wanted to reconstitute. The quote refers to the search of scientific truth which can only be conducted with the greatest rigor.

– François Le Tacon, leading expert for the work of Émile Gallé and author, among others, of Émile Gallé L'amour de l'Art, les écrits artistiques du Maître de l'Art Nouveau, Éditions Place Stanislas, 2010 and Émile Gallé, ou Le mariage de l'art et de la science, Éditions Messène, Paris, 1995

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