|Biography from Tangible Investments:|
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Emile Galle was born in France in 1846 and his training included art,
botany, and chemistry, three subjects, which he combined in his
brilliant designs for glass and other mediums (pottery, furniture,
jewelry). His father, Charles Galle, owned a glass and ceramics
factory in Nancy. After much travelling and training, fighting in
the war between France and Prussia, working for the glass company
"Burgun, Schverer et Cie" in Meisenthal, Galle settled back in Nancy
and set up his own glass studio in 1873 where he initially made
classical forms of glass with classical, intricate, enamelled designs.
Moving on from these designs to botanical themes, again in enamelled
glass, it was not until the 1878 International Exhibition in Paris,
when Galle saw the work of his contemporaries such as John Northwood
and Joseph Locke from England (cameo glass) and Eugene Rousseau (pate
de verre) that he developed new and adventurous designs for his glass.
years later at the Paris International Exhibition (1889) Galle
exhibited his own new types of glass, including carved cameo work and
many new colors. His achievements earned him recognition in the
French Legion of Honour.
Even in those early years, Galle made two distinct qualities of
glass. On the one hand his "poems in glass", masterpieces that
took hours and hours of patient work to make. And on the other hand,
his high quality art glass designed to be less expensive to make, but
still an object of beauty, good enough to carry his signature.
This was later to develop into what is today called "industrial Galle".
1894, Galle built a massive new glassworks in Nancy, and ended his
dependence on the Burgun, Schverer glassworks for producing some of his
glass. He employed a team of craftsmen-designers, who worked to
the edict that all Galle designs should be true to nature. Galle
himself modified and approved these designs before they were made by
teams of craftsmen in his Cristallerie D'Emile Galle. Throughout
the 1890's Galle won awards at international exhibitions and
recognition through commissions and popular demand for his work.
His techniques and style were copied by many other glassmakers who
advertised their glass as "Galle style".
He was a major
influence on the Art Nouveau movement. The origin of the name Art
Nouveau comes from an interior design gallery in Paris, called the
Maison de l'Art Nouveau, which opened in 1895 and was an outlet for
decorative creations by Emile Gallé as well as American artist Louis
Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), and French designer and architect Eugene
Gaillard (1862-1933), and glass and jewelry designer Rene Lalique
Emile Gallé died in 1904, while directing the work
on new designs from his bed. After his death Mme Gallé, his widow,
continued to run the glassworks and to make Gallé glass until the
outbreak of war in 1914, marking all the glass sold by the works after
his death with a star after the name Gallé.
Emile Galle's son in law, Paul Perdrizet, re-opened the Gallé
glassworks after the war. With new workers and new designs, they
focussed on two and three layer cameo glass with landscape and floral
designs, made by acid-etching. These were popular for some years,
but the company did not keep pace with the changes in style in the late
twenties, and closed down in 1936.
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