GLASS MODERN EMIL GALLE
Emil Galle (1846 – 1904) became the main figure for glassmaking of the Art Nouveau era. His work refracted the traditions of European and Eastern art, giving rise to a completely new style that combined deep symbolism, close attention to nature, an infinite variety of techniques, amazing freedom and sophistication of form. Emil Galle was born in Nancy, a small city in Lorraine, in the family of an entrepreneur who was engaged in the trade and production of glass and earthenware. Emil Galle’s career began with work at a family business. He later collaborated with the Burgun, Schwerer & Co. factory in Meisenthal. Already in 1867, Halle created an art studio, and in 1894 he headed his glass production in Nancy. If in the early period of his work Halle created mainly sketches of dishes from transparent colorless material with engraving or painting, then in his studio he begins a series of technological experiments. As a result, many new techniques were invented and patented, old technologies were revived, and an unprecedentedly diverse palette of shades of colored glass was created. In 1882, Emil Galle began the production of laminated glass material, which became one of the symbols of Art Nouveau. The most important subject of multilayer decor was engraving, which could be carried out mechanically (wheel engraving) or chemical (etching). The pinnacle of Halle’s work was cameo glass, a laminated glass onto which the image was applied using sequential layer-by-layer etching and carving using various tools. As a rule, in this technique flowers and plants (orchids, lilies, chrysanthemums, thistles, ferns) were depicted on vases, but there are also images of insects, marine inhabitants and other images borrowed from nature. The decoration of such works has always had a symbolic and philosophical implication. Halle even creates a new genre that combines glass and poetry: the so-called “talking glass”, where lines from poems by Baudelaire, Meterlink, Hugo were woven into the ornamentation of a vase.
Antique glass Modern, manufactory Galle vase with the image of magnolia 1900
Vase with the image of a magnolia flower. Halle manufactory 1900. Laminated glass, etching. GMZ Pavlovsk
Source: Galle Lines. European and Russian colored laminated glass of the late XIX – early XX centuries in the collections of museums in Russia. Moscow 2013
Etching was also used to treat the entire surface of the glass. Holding the acid in a solution of different concentrations could replace mechanical grinding, give the effect of frosting or “frosty glass” (the glass seemed to be covered with a layer of frost). Acid etching made it possible to achieve greater smoothness of lines and softness of outlines in comparison with mechanical engraving. Etching also allowed the creation of circulation products, and in the 1890s Galle began mass production of laminated glass at his own enterprise. Galle serial glass was called Galle standart. Halle’s unusual invention was the “marquetry on glass” technique (French: marqueterie de verre – a set of glass on glass), by analogy with the technique that has long been used to decorate furniture. Glass pieces of different colors were superimposed on the vessel walls in hot form. Another technique patented by Halle is the patination technique, when dust of different chemical composition was applied to the surface of the glass between the layers, thus achieving unusual color effects and sophisticated gradations.
Antique glass Art Nouveau, vase with the image of cyclamen manufactory galle
Vase with the image of cyclamen. Manufactory Galle. The end of the 1890s Laminated glass, etching, glass marquetry technique. State Museum of Ceramics and Kuskovo Estate.
Source: Galle Lines. European and Russian colored laminated glass of the late XIX – early XX centuries in the collections of museums in Russia. Moscow 2013.
The main feature of the old glass of Emil Galle is high quality and virtuosity of execution, each of his works is a work of art. There are also a number of details that help determine whether an antique Halle glass is genuine. Such details include the sanded bottom, on which all many layers of colored glass are visible. Of course, the signature (signature) of Emile Galle also plays an important role in attribution. He signed his works in the technique of engraving or etching, but the signature changed both during the life of the artist and after his death (serial production of Halle vases continued its work until the 1930s). Currently, the rights to the Galle brand are owned by the Coman design factory located in Romania. In the marking of these items next to the name “Galle” is the word “tip”.