Émile Gallé was a leading innovator of the Art Nouveau style and of the modern renaissance of French art glass. He greatly contributed to the development of the art of glassmaking and to the free asymmetric naturalism and symbolistic overtones of Art Nouveau style by incorporating wheel cutting, acid etching, casing and special effects such as metallic foils.
Gallé’s strikingly original work made a great impression when it was exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1889. Over the next decade his glass, reflecting the prevailing interest in Japanese art, became internationally known and imitated. It contributed largely to the free, asymmetric naturalism and symbolistic overtones of Art Nouveau. He employed wheel cutting, acid etching, casing (i.e., layers of various glass), and special effects such as metallic foils and air bubbles, calling his experiments marqueterie de verre (“marquetry of glass”). At Nancy he led the revival of craftsmanship and the subsequent dissemination of crafted glass by way of mass production. At the height of its productivity, during the late 19th century, his workshop employed nearly 300 associates. He attracted numerous artisans, including the Art Nouveau glassmaker Eugène Rousseau. After Gallé’s death his glass enterprise continued production until 1913.
This splendid cameo art glass vase, the art of luxury, is a marvel of artistry. Celebrated for his mastery of technical innovations in glass, Gallé here demonstrates his creative prowess as seen in the fine modeling of the asymmetric naturalism relief body with delicate incising of the Clematis. A complete expression unto itself is seen in the exquisite layers of majestic vibrancy. Gallé incorporated this ancient form of glass art by etching and carving through fused layers of differently colored glass.