Glass by Émile Gallé. The Conservatoire has some fifty glass, ceramic and enamel pieces by Émile Gallé. In 1905 it commissioned Henriette Gallé, the artist’s widow, to create this spectacular display case for this collection. Its marquetry decoration depicts the hot (glassblowing) and cold (moulding, acid engraving) workshops of the Gallé crystal works in Nancy. The first pieces were acquired in 1884, then at the Universal Exposition in 1889. They include the two-layered cornet vase, a virtuoso example of the quality of Gallé’s opaque and translucent enamels, as well as his interest in transparent, smoked and ‘clair-de-lune’ glass. Gallé then adopted a different approach to the medium, perfecting a delicate glass marquetry technique for which he registered several patents. This enabled him to play on the depth and colour of different opaque and transparent glasses superimposed in several layers. One of the most remarkable pieces is the Libellules dish created in 1904. One of a small series, it epitomises the technical perfection achieved by Gallé’s glassworkers and the naturalist inspiration of their creator, who once said of his work: ‘My roots lie deep in the woods.’


  • Title: "White Butterflies" vase
  • Creator: Émile Gallé
  • Date: 1889
  • Date Created: 1889
  • Location: France
  • Provenance: Musée des arts et métiers
  • Subject Keywords: Verrerie / arts du feu
  • Type: Verre
  • Inventory number: Inv. 11569
  • Credits: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Pascal Faligot, Author: Anne-Laure Carré, English translation: David Wharry

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