Emile Galle is worldwide known for its glass. In this article Mrs Tiny Esveld wants to show the different types of Galle glass.  All these examples of vases were or are for sale in the gallery Tiny Esveld, In Rijkevorsel in Belgium.

Emile Galle. Dreamer and poet

A lot has been written about Emile Galle. Books are filled with facts about his date of birth, his death and everything in between and there is no value in repeating it all. Galle was a nerd. He liked to study, living in his own world with a lot of books around him. He occupied himself with literature and botany. He wasn’t really loved by his fellow students and they broke his spectacles at school when he was young. Emile was a “mummy’s little boy” and he felt the rest of the world was against him. He travelled a lot as a young man, studying in Weimar, but he sufferred from homesickness. He went to exhibitions in Great Britain and France to represent his father, spoke several languages and saw a bit of the world. He was a scholar but the thing he liked best was to draw. He was creative and had a vivid imagination.

In 1877 he took over his father ’s ceramic and glass enterprise as owner and artistic director. He was the great inspirer and won one prize after another. Everyone recognized the genius of Emile Galle but he never blew the glass himself. Galle made the designs and oversaw the quality but his workmen made the objects. The production was industrialized and his dream was that everyone would enjoy the beauty of art pieces. In his home he surrounded himself with his own vases, furniture and ceramics. Galle loved his own objects and he made furniture to exhibit his vases. Emile’s world had to be in harmony. His house La Garenne was surrounded by a garden, in which he grew the plants he studied. Nature was his inspiration and art nouveau is all about nature. Plants and animals are portrayed in their natural colours and dimensions. On some vases Galle added a poem. These are known as “ Vase parlante” or “Talking” vase, a vase with a message. His best works are the marqueterie vases. Hot pieces of glass are applied on the surface of a vase to make the decoration. The hot vase is then rolled over a marble stone so the applied pieces are embedded. The narcis vase is a great example of this technique. Foto 24.

Galle was a man with a mission he wanted to make the world more beautiful. In 1901 together with his competitors Daum and Majorelle, he founded the school of Nancy. Galle did not like Daum and Majorelle, he thought they copied his work, but the artists of Nancy had to work together because the influence of art objects from foreign countries was growing bigger and bigger. Galle died in 1904 at the age of 58 leaving us a legacy of objects beyond comparison. He was the greatest art nouveau artist. Art nouveau finished with the death of Galle.

Acid Etching


The vase is protected with bitume de Judee. The part that is left uncovered is eaten by the hydrofluoric acid. The acid will give a   depth to the vase. This process can be repeated. Most of the time the vase is lowered in an acid bath. This was unhealthy for the workmen.




Wheel Carving


A pattern is cut on the vase with the use of a rotating wheel. The difference between acid-etching and wheelcutting is, wheel cutting is done by skilled men and took many hours. Wheelcutting is more refined, more detailed then acid-etching.






Wheelcutting that looks like a piece had been hammered.






Applications. Every piece of glass that is applied on the vase while it is still hot. This can be a handle, a band, etc.






Painting the vase with glasspowders. After the painting the vase will be heated again, so that the powders become glass as  well.






The vase is rolled into glasspowders on a marble table.
Afterwards the vase is heated again.






Between two layers of glass. A pattern with glasspowders is placed on a marble table. Then the vase picks up this pattern.  Afterwards the vase is covered with another layer of glass, so the pattern is between two layers.






Hot pieces of glass are applied on the surface of a a vase to make the decoration. The hot vase was rolled over a marble stone, so  that the applied pieces were embedded.


You can visit mrs Esveld’s website www.tinyesveld.com to see a part of the present collection for sale at the moment or the site about furniture by Emile Galle www.emilegallefurniture.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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