Galle Exhibition

Emile Galle was born in 1846 in Nancy, in the east of France and close to the German border. His father, Charles Galle, had glass and ceramic factories in Meisenthal.

Emile Galle studied literature, history and botany. He already showed talent when he was still young. His father recognised his talent, and sent him to Germany for further education. When he came back from Germany, Galle worked with his father, and moved to Meisenthal. At Burgun Schverer & Cie he trained in basic and new glass techniques.
He visited the South Kensington Museum and the British Museum in London. He saw the Portland vase, which had a great influence on his cameo glass.
He was involved in the France Prussia war in 1870, returning to France a year later.
In 1873, his father built an enormous house with a large garden in Nancy, which he called “La Garenne”. Galle moved in and opened a workshop there, and 1 year later he took over his father’s business.

In the garden of "La Garenne", Galle was inspired to incorporate nature into his glass. He portrayed the flowers of Nancy, exotic flowers from Far East, and insects on the glass. He became the figurehead of the Art Nouveau movement.

Galle exhibited his new glass at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1878. It was very successful, and he was awarded 4 Gold Medals.
He experimented with new glass techniques, and continued exhibiting at International Exhibitions in Paris.
He was A friend with Takashima Hokkai, a Japanese man who was living in Nancy that time. Galle learnt the Japanese way of loving and living with nature, and made exquisite glass under this influence.
In 1894 Galle built a large glass factory in Nancy. By the early 1890’s Galle started producing Cameo glass by using hydrofluoric acid. The most popular Galle glass that we can see and collect are these cameo glasses. By 1900 Galle was the largest manufacture of luxury glass, having shops in Paris, Germany, and London, located on 13 South Molton Street.
After Galle died in 1904, his widow kept producing luxury glass, from the remaining sketches, drawings and works in progress. In 1914 the factory was closed, because of the 1st world war. Reopening in 1918-19, it was finally closed down in 1931.