Born in 1846 in Nancy, France, designer Emile Gallé is considered to be one of the founders of the Art Nouveau movement, and his innovative techniques made him one of the most important glass makers of the late 19th and early 20th century. His work has been described as “poetry in glass,” and his new techniques included ‘flashed’ glass (applying a layer of a different colour then cutting through it for a textured look) and enamelling. Gallé travelled extensively around Europe to further his knowledge of techniques, and in his turn was extremely influential on other designers. In 1878 he was awarded the Grand Prix in the Paris Exhibition. By the 1890s, Gallé had 300 employees in his glassworks, which was the first to mass produce objects using industrial techniques. Gallé died in 1904 but the factory continued to produce pieces with his signature - although a star was added to show they were produced after his death. Production ceased completely in 1936.
There’s still a strong interest in the works of Emile Gallé, and it has a broad appeal. Emile Gallé’s enthusiasm for creating new designs and techniques led to bright, colourful pieces decorated with air bubbles, metal foil, floating insects and enamelling, and early examples of each new design are sought after by collectors. Pieces produced during Gallé’s lifetime are more popular, and the market remains buoyant for examples in good condition. As with all decorative items, the value of Emile Gallé’s work is largely dependent on the age, rarity and condition of the individual piece.
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