First period, influenced by other stylesA mix of styles, renaissance, louis xv, rococo and others, a historic mixture with the first small art nouveau characteristics. 1885-1895
In 1885 Emile Galle started to work with wood. like his glass he drew the outline himself, decided what kind of wood will be used, controlled the work, examined the first try-out and under his direction the workers made the piece. The first production of furniture were small pieces. Little tables and pedestals just to put one vase on. As Emile Galle explained himself ,he was dissatisfied with the presentation of his vases at numeral exhibitions and that is why he decided to start making his own furniture, so that his glass would be presented at its advantage. Glass and woodwork in harmony.
The second period. Splendid Art nouveau . 1895-1904
The great inspirer has died and in 1914 his wife died and this leaves the firm in hands of his four daughters. Until 1914 they continued to use the earlier designs together with new art deco designs. Therefor it is difficult to say whether some objects made in the art nouveau style are made before or after 1904. This applies as well for the vases. The factory continued the work with other designers. Some of them are great artists, like Paul Nicolas, Auguste Herbst, louis hestaux, Emile Lang and victor prouve and emile levy.
In this period they produce blown- out vases. Vases which are blown into a mould. Famous examples are the rododhendron and the elephant vase. In the same period you get very nice art deco design tables, like the polar bear table and the lotus table with Egyptian influence. the tables have straight legs and no fluid lines. The signature on the lotus table is in a cartouche, which is taken from the egyptian symbolism. Some of the tables and cabinets in this period have geometric designs. These art deco tables are very rare. Just a few are known and not many have been published in books. Many research still has to be done.
the marqueterie of these tables are extraoridanary craftmansship. the wood is special chosen on grain and colour.
When you want to buy a Galle furniture, you have to ask yourself a few questions. How is the condition of the object? Has it been restored? Are there new parts? Is the object complete or is a part missing? Has it the original mounts? Are the feet original? Furniture restoration is accepted, but only a certain percentage. When the top of a table or cabinet has some watermarks made by a glass or a vase or a plant, this can be polished and no harm is done to the original concept. So polishing and waxing is accepted. Varnish in general is not accepted. When a table is not stable anymore , it is perfectly allright to stabalize it. Most Galle furniture has been very well kept. they were real treasures when they were bought, so people cared well for the object. When a top is missing from a ladies desk, do not buy. the desk is not complete and not original anymore.
last but not least, we have to talk about fakes. there are many fakes on the market. When you google you can find sites with fake dragonfly tables and other small tables. Do not think that you hit the jackpot when you see a dragonfly table for sale in a small auction house. It is not you that wins the jackpot, but the seller. Always look for the refinement of the marqueterie and the different type of woods. When there is no refinement , it is not made by Galle. When you have a doubt, do not buy.
A Real Galle furniture is breathtaking, because it is so beautiful. When you do not have that feeling, be sure it is a fake.
You can also visit mrs Esveld’s website www.tinyesveld.com to see the present collection for sale at the moment or the site about glass by Emile Galle www.emilegalleglass.com or take a look at the new book Mrs Esveld just wrote about the art made by Gallé and his family. This hardcover book takes you in 300 pages back to the era and the city in which Gallé lived and worked and has more than 600 images, of which many were never published before. Order the book.
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