A French Art Nouveau glass and wood footed bowl by Emile Gallé, featuring a multicolored pinched-sided glass bowl in yellow, purple, and green. The bowl sits atop a carved walnut foot with openwork floral design and scrolled base. Pictured in "Meubles et Ensembles Style 1900" by Edith Mannoni, page 54. Provenance: Private collection of Mr. Robert S. Walker.
A French Art Nouveau "Rose de France" vase by Emile Gallé. In 1870, Nancy, the home of Gallé, was annexed by Germany as a result of the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian war. Gallé chose to use the motif of the red rose, which only bloomed in the Mt. Saint-Quentin province of Lorraine, as a symbol of his strident patriotism. In 1902 a vase from this series was presented to the Russian emperor as a prestigious gift from France. The vase shows Gallé''s innovative technique of glass marquetry which involved the incorporation of glass fragments of various thickness, shapes and colors into the still malleable glass. The multi-layering of glass and the use of metallic foils behind the glass make this piece so exceptional. A similar vase is pictured in: "Gallé", catalogue for the exhibition at le Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, November 1985-February 1986, "Paris: Éditions de la Réunion des muse nationaux", 1985, p. 149.
A French Art Nouveau games table by Emile Gallé, featuring inlaid fruitwood marquetry depicting thistles and card suit symbols. The table''s apron has a series of carved card suit symbols on all four sides. A similar table is pictured in: "Gallé Furniture" by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2012, p. 130, plate 1.
A French Art Nouveau "Ombelle" carved walnut table, by Emile Gallé. The table is decorated with fruitwood marquetry featuring a butterfly alighting on an ombelle blossom and has three carved feet. A similar table is pictured in: "Gallé Furniture" by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2012, p. 202, plate 182.
A French Art Nouveau games table in cedar and walnut by Emile Gallé, featuring inlaid marquetry when closed and open. When closed, the marquetry decoration is of tree branches with buds and flowers and can serve as an end table. Opened, the motif is more foliate. A similar table is pictured in: "Gallé Furniture" by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2012, p. 134, plates 8 and 8a.
A French Art Nouveau "Grenouilles" fruit wood cabinet by Emile Gallé. This carved cabinet features dragonfly, mushroom, and landscape marquetry decoration, as well as carved frog-leg feet and a pierced dragonfly design in the top gallery. The panel for the key escutcheon is cast in bronze with the complementary pattern (left and right) in carved wood. The writings and discoveries of Louis Pasteur added an entirely new class of symbols to Galle''s oeuvre. Galle wrote of Pasteur''s discoveries "we can decipher, behind the chimeric anatomies, the realities that have become manifest, submitted, cataloged, grown in test tubes." In 1892, Galle honored Pasteur for his contributions to science with a vase. The vase is decorated with all manners of mythological creatures and microorganisms. In the cabinet''s "Grenouilles" feet, the artist syncretizes the symbols of two different "currents." The morphology of the lion''s paw offers the viewer a "peaceful stream of our predilections." The lion paw with its hallowed history calls to mind the conservative values of nobility and honor. By comparison, the hind legs of the pickerel frog originate from the "fast...deep…[and] powerful" current of modernity that offers symbols free from prescribed values. In the hands of Galle''s genius, these symbols generate all manners of novel methods of furniture construction that are evident.The cabi
net features two doors opening to reveal two shelves. The left door is veneered with two dragonflies that dart amongst the pickerel rush. This American aquatic plant was popular amongst French horticulturists as a staple in ornamental fish ponds. Galle''s "Aux Grenouilles" design was the only instance in which Galle represented the pickerel rush. The Grenouille cabinet is a rare example of Galle''s use of sand shading. This eighteenth-century technique involves the submersion of veneer pieces in hot sand. This provides a subtle gradation that is visible in the outer serrated margin of the pickerel leaf and the background of the mushroom landscape. The upper right-hand drawer is decorated with a frieze of carved wood arrowheads that wraps around the cabinet''s sides. The arrowheads are furled into arabesques that echo thedragonflies in the gallery.Similar cabinet pictured in: "Art Nouveau Furniture," by Alastair Duncan, p. 74, no. 62. As well as in Emile Gallé, by Philippe Garner, p. 84
A French Art Nouveau cameo glass vase by Émile Gallé. This large vase is decorated with wheel carved purple trumpet-creepers and vines against a green background. The flowers and vines climb up the ribbed neck of the vase. The "liseron" vase is a flattened baluster form vase with an everted mouth, rounded and polished rim, long slender-waisted neck, short globular body, and an applied disk foot. The vase features an intercalaire layer of coarse jade frit in the top three-quarters of the vase and fine indigo frit in the bottom quarter of the vase. To construct the vase, a bubble was blown into the gather, which was cased and parison inflated into a dip mold with 19 ribs. The stem was subsequently plucked out and twisted counterclockwise. Finally, a soffieta was used to open the mouth and a pair of jacks was used to evert the rim. The vase was later cameo cut with exquisite detailing in the venation and the hirsute texture of the leaves. The vase depicts eight heads of Liseron japonais (Ipomoea nil ([Japanese morning glory].) The flower was introduced to Nancy by Takashima Hokkai, a fellow member of the Ecole de Nancy and Japanese Director of Forestry. Hokkai was invited as a juror for the Central Nancy Horticultural society exhibition of 1887. At the exhibition, Gallé presented Hokkai a Japanese morning glory in thanks for his contributions to the field of horticulture.
The Japanese morning glory adorned the walls of Gallé''s studio until his death in 1904. To accompany this oriental flower, Gallé has given the morning glories a jade background. Commonly featured in the eighteenth century Shigemasa Kitao birds and flower prints that Gallé consulted, the creation of a jade simulant is only fitting for this oriental flower.
A French Art Nouveau marquetry commode by Émile Gallé. With original key. The syncretic influence of Japanese art is keenly felt in Gallé''s commode. The beginning of Galle''s fascination with Japanese art can be traced back to his friendship with Hokkai Takashima (1850-1931), a fellow botanist and member of the École de Nancy. Their botanical dialogue was facilitated by the Shokobutsu mei-i, a book of Japanese names for botanical species. It is from Hokkai that Gallé gained a spiritual and symbolic understanding of nature. Along with other École de Nancy artists, Hokkai and Gallé exhibited together in the display window of René Wiener''s papeterie. The store served as the office of Wiener''s arts journal, the Nancy artiste, which regularly featured on its covers contemporary examples of Gansai (Japanese watercolor), Byobu (folding screens) from the Rinpa school, Sumi-e (ink painting), and Ukiyo-e (woodblock prints). As a show of gratitude, Hokkai bequeathed a vast art book collection to Wiener. It is from this record that we know with certainty of which Japanese artists Gallé had knowledge. One of the books in Hokkai''s collection was Hokusai''s Les cent paysages du Fuji (Fugaku hyakkei.) This 1835 expansion of Hokusai''s 36 views of Mount Fuji contained more elaborate iterations of his original compositions. The commode features two drawers and four cabriole legs.
The front of the drawers features a marquetry panel with mountains, unkai (sea of clouds) and usugumo (wisps of clouds) motifs. It is likely from works like Hokusai''s Yama mata yama (Mountains Upon Mountains) that Gallé assimilated the unkai (??) motif. The Yama mata yama is the album''s only zenithal view, allowing this phenomenon which is normally only visible from high elevations. On the top of the commode, a sunset mirage overlooks the entire scene. Meanwhile in the foreground, Gallé has included a usugumo motif rendered in warm brown wood. The wisps of cloud motif originates in a stanza in the Tale of Genji in his mourning for Fujitsubo. Those thin wisps of cloud trailing there over Mountains caught in sunset light Seem to wish to match their hue To the sleeves of the bereaved. There is a distinct temporal quality in the commode''s composition. The left side panel depicts a diurne while the right side panel depicts a nocturne. The juxtaposition of day and night in Japanese ukiyo-e was a subject much beloved by Hokusai and Hiroshige and was termed chuya (chu meaning day and ya meaning night). The Japanese nocturne was clearly a subject of great fascination to Gallé as well as evidenced by his "Nuit Japonais" vase. A similar commode is pictured in: "Gallé Furniture", by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2012, p. 329, plate 15.
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