Highly original furniture, both antique and modern, performed brilliantly at this sale in Auxerre, as did naturalist glassware by the magician of Nancy.
Émile Gallé (1846-1904), twisted vase in transparent glass with enameled decoration and gilt highlights, signed underneath "EG déposé Émile Gallé à Nancy", h. 24.5 cm/9.6 in.
This transparent glass vase made by Émile Gallé in Nancy headed a sale mainly focused on the decorative arts. The piece with its twisted silhouette (h. 24.5 cm/9.6 in) features delicate enameled decoration, where the protagonist turns out to be a praying mantis: an insect much liked by the master glassmaker for its clear-cut forms. The fearsome mantid hides among flowers and foliage, and the whole scene is highlighted with gilding. Underneath we read: "EG déposé Emile Gallé à Nancy". This rural microcosm rapidly scaled the heights all the way up to €27,000.
With the furniture section, an iconic Goutte d'eau (Water Drop) coffee table (dia. 98.5, h. 33.5 cm/38.8 and 13 in) by Ado Chale made a striking impression. Its cast aluminum top with its concentric "microgroove" decoration is supported by three black lacquered metal legs on ball-bearings, making it easy to move around. It is signed on the edge of the top. Dating from the 1990s, it garnered €20,740: well above its high estimate.
Another table—this time occasional—made a fine showing as well, at €13,420. An older piece, from the Transition period, it bears the stamp of Charles Topino (admitted as master in 1773), and two "JME" guild stamps underneath. The three-legged table has wood veneering and gilt bronze mounts (h. 76, dia. 46 cm/29.9 and 18.1 in).
By way of an epilogue, we can cite the €8,670 fetched by Henry Jacquier's painting L'arbre de Noël dans le cabinet de curiosités (Christmas Tree in the Cabinet of Curiosities; 160 x 195 cm/63 x 76.7 in), which was exhibited at the 1904 Salon at the Grand Palais in Paris.