Delicately elegant, French Art Nouveau cameo glass vase by Emile Galle c1900. Acid etched design in amethyst of flowering clematis encircling the vase. Etched detail to petals and leaves enhancing the design. Frosted ground graduating from magenta at the base to white and back to magenta at the rim. Raised cameo Galle signature to the body. The vase measures 13 cm in height.
Gallé was the son of a faience and furniture manufacturer and studied philosophy, botany, and drawing in his youth. He learned glassmaking at Meisenthal and came to work at his father's factory in Nancy following the Franco-Prussian War. His early work was executed using clear glass decorated with enamel, but he soon turned to an original style featuring heavy, opaque glass carved or etched with plant motifs (cameo glass). In 1877 he took over from his father as director of the Maison Gallé-Reinemer. His work received praise at the Paris Exhibition of 1878 and again at the Paris Exhibition of 1889 – giving him and his style international fame. With its emphasis on naturalism and floral motifs, Gallé’s designs were at the forefront of the emerging Art Nouveau movement.
Cameo glass is a luxury form of art glass produced by cameo etching and carving through fused layers of differently coloured glass to produce designs. In Gallé’s designs all of the top layer except the areas needed for the design were removed by an acid etching process. Areas were covered with a resist layer such as wax and the glass was repeatedly dipped in acid. Detailed work was then done with wheels and drills before finishing.