At Chantilly, Emile Gallé became the undisputed master of art nouveau glass.
The Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris was an opportunity for Émile Gallé, at the height of his art, to present the results of his groundbreaking experiments with glass. Visitors were dazzled by dozens of one-off models at four stands between the Grand Palais and the Esplanade des Invalides. They included a very poetic vase “with annual honesty (Lunaria annua)”, one of the master glassmaker’s favourite plants. A vase (h. 20.5 cm) turning out to be a rare study for this piece has reappeared in Chantilly. It changed hands for €54,375. The study is a cone-shaped piece in blown multilayered glass on a bulbous foot with a straight neck flaring out at the top. Its vegetal decoration has been entirely chased with a grinding wheel to reveal the colours white and blue with a white frost effect on a hammered and vitrified purple background enhanced with inclusions of gold, silver and platinum flakes. Naturally, it bears Gallé’s Japanese-style vertical signature as well as the date “1900”.