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.