French, active 1873–1936
Bud vase, c. 1890
12 x 6.2 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mr. Arthur King, Montreal
Emile Gallé (1846–1904), a key producer of French Art Nouveau glass, helped establish the French city of Nancy as a major creative centre of glass-making, rivalling Paris in the late nineteenth century. Schooled in philosophy, drawing, the classics, and botany, he brought his interest in literature and horticulture to his glass-making. Gallé’s mature work emphasized stylized plant motifs in elegant asymmetrical patterns, and quite often reflects Japanese influence. In the 1880s he mastered the technique of cameo glass, where glass of various colours is layered and then progressively removed through acid etching and wheel carving to produce flat blocks of tonal design. Both of the WAG’s vases exhibit this technique, which found wide appeal among collectors. One vase features trailing sweet peas, and the other violets.