A French Art Nouveau games table by Emile Gallé, featuring inlaid fruitwood marquetry depicting thistles and card suit symbols. 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" beechwood 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. 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 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.
A French Art Nouveau two tiered table by Émile Gallé. The table''s four legs are the carved bodies of dragonflies, their wings outstretched and frozen mid-flight. The table top rests on the dragonflies'' heads and wings, with a fluid curvature in the corners creating a crown for the winged creatures'' heads. Marquetry on the table top depicts flowers on long-leafed stems, with shadows of foliage in the background. Decoration in darker tones and larger, starker motifs, decorate the lower tier, playing on the shadows in which it is naturally shrouded. The dragonfly works of Gallé''s provoked very strong critical reaction when they were debuted in 1900, with champions of Art Nouveau lauding the modernity of the dragonfly as caryatid, while detractors were horrified by the very idea of insects as table legs. Time has certainly found favor with this design, as it has found pride of place in museum collections worldwide. A similar table is pictured in: "Gallé Furniture," by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2012, p. 207, plate 192a.
A French Art Nouveau "le cerisier" (cherry tree) vitrine by Emile Gallé featuring marquetry and carving throughout with original stylized fleur-de-lys brass shelf rests and a key with floral decoration. The mirrored vitrine backing enables one to view the backside of the collection housed within. This unusual piece was originally electrified when manufactured.The beginning of Gallé''s fascination with Japanese art can be traced back to his friendship with Hokkai Takashima (1850-1931), a Japanese nobleman, fellow botanist and member of the École de Nancy. Takashima introduced Gallé to a mesmerizing world of Japanese woodblock prints and textile designs, which he frequently incorporated into his work. Gallé''s early success at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle was with his "Japonisante" vitrine, a piece that featured "cherry blossom" openwork. In Gallé''s personal life, the cherry blossom held sentimental value, reminding him of his trips to Saillon, Switzerland. In his journal, Gallé mused "the cherries ripen in the snow falling from the dandelions." The gentle dark wood ripples in the marquetry evoke alpine mist and clouds taking the viewer to this enchanting scene. A similar vitrine is pictured in: "Gallé Furniture," by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2012, p. 295, plate 17.
A French Art Nouveau two-tiered square pedestal with carved and marquetry decoration by Emile Gallé. The pedestal has two marquetry shelves depicting leaves. Its four sinuous legs are enhanced with carved arch supports. A similar selette is pictured in: "Gallé Furniture," by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2012, p. 253, plate 18.
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