Famous Glass Art: Gallé

A Look into the Life and Times of Émile Gallé

How many remember the Art Nouveau Movement? This guy is considered to be one of the main forces behind it. Look up this time in any of the books out there, Gallé, Émile is one of the top names to be found.

One of the reasons he is considered to be one of the driving forces is due to his naturalistic approach. His name and reputation hold particularly high during the late 19th century into the early 20th centuries.

Just where did he get his inspirations? He got them from nature. This is what caused many to call him a “naturalist.” He combined all of this with a Japanese feel. His work was given many nicknames over his time, one, in particular, was “poetry in a glass.”

A Brief History of His Life and Legacy

He was born in the town of Nancy, a small town in the Eastern part of France. His father was a glassmaker too. It was almost destined that Émile would follow in his father’s footsteps, even if he had other ideas. He began his schooling early. He studied everything from botany to philosophy and art. He was rather skilled with the academics. He got very high marks in everything he did.

He later joined his father at the factory he owned and worked in. Émile further his education by doing extensive traveling, when he wasn’t working in his father’s shop. He made extensive trips to Europe. He studied everything about glassmaking and all of its elements.

One he returned to his hometown of Nancy, he used this knowledge to his advantage. He started out with just clear glass work and went from there. His father later retired and Émile took over. It was during this time that Émile really started to shine. It happened around 1877. He began experimenting with all kinds of stuff, things like enameling and cameo became a staple in his glassmaking.

It wasn’t until about a year later that Émile really got noticed. He attended and won a Paris exhibition. He got one of the highest honors there, the “Grand Prix.” However, Émile was not happy at all during this time. In spite of the accolades, he was getting, he felt some things were missing.

He packed up and went home. He wanted to make some of his own. He later said he felt the exhibition did not “look to the future in any way.” He came home to Nancy and adopted his own shop, much like his father did before him. He began experimenting with his own designs and glasswork.

Looking to the Future

His shop started doing well. Émile’s work was definitely getting to be in high demand. He had over 300 people working for him. His shop even began using industrial elements. However, Émile’s hunger could not be quenched. He didn’t want to stop there. He wanted to continue to experiment and improve the glassmaking process. This choice went a long way to ensuring that he would be at the forefront of this revolution.

Everything was coming together for him. He was still heavily attached to his core values, much like his father. He still experimented with plant life and other naturalistic elements. He died in 1904. His spouse took over the shop. Sadly, due to WW2, the shop would close at a time. Later on, his son-in-law picked up the slack and continued on with Émile’s work. Paul made sure his work echoed that of what Émile did.

The Christmas Ornament

Where Did It Comes From?

Everyone knows what they are. What many might not know is where did they come from. They didn’t just magically appear on a tree covered in ceramics or metal and wood. They didn’t begin this way.

The First Incarnation of the Christmas Ornament

Ornaments began as something much simpler. They began as things like apples, pastries, and even white candy canes. They were in images of stars and flowers.

The creation of the glass bauble actually began in Lauscha, a village in Thuringia in Germany. It was from 1550 – 1609. Two guys by the name of Hans Greiner and Christoph Müller started out with small, hand-made glass beads and figures for the Christmas tree. It started to grow from there. Originally the glass beads formed a chain. Even today, this village produces glass Christmas ornaments.

The artisans at that time started taking these ideas to the next level. Through their skill, they took something as simple as an apple or pear and molded it into a clay formation. They even did this with the glass bauble. Taking the bauble and making it bigger and rounder. They also began adding fire into the mix and making it more glass-like. Designs soon followed. Once they began realizing what they had, they knew they had to export it.

Later on, in the 19th century, the glass baubles were treated with silver nitrate and painted by hand afterwards.

It’s Export Time

It all happened one Christmas Eve, back in 1832. A young woman wrote about how her tree was adorned with all of these really cool things. She even showed it in pictures. As people saw them in London, more inventors took notice. They decided it was time for a mass production and ship out.

A man by the name of William Demuth got the ball rolling in 1870. Ten Years later, in 1880, Woolworth’s began selling the ornaments. By the 19th century, other stores took the lead. By as late as 1910, over 1,000 stores got in on the ride.

After WWII, most of the production ceased on the baubles and other glass ornaments. As of 8 or 9 years ago, the only remaining ones are privately owned. They still produce these Christmas Ornaments, it’s just not as prevalent as it was before World War II.

Joyce Scott to Be Honored by the Glass Society in 2017

Every year the Glass Art Society always gives out awards for outstanding achievements. Well, this year is not going to be any different. Before I get into the awards part, let’s talk a little bit about the Glass Society itself.

The Glass Society: A Brief History

It all began about 40 years ago. It started around 1971. It’s now got about 2700 members. It’s represented across 50 countries and counting. It’s expanded across the globe to include countries like Belgium, Japan, Ireland, Sweden, South Korea and many others. The initial intent of the organization was spread knowledge and excitement about glass blowing. The organization felt it was important to spread this sort of information to family, friends, and co-workers. As you can see, it’s a very big deal and it’s taken very seriously by its members. Which is why it’s considered a very big deal when someone within the group gets an award, like Joyce and Wayne.

Setting the Stage for Joyce and Wayne

There is a specific award going out to Joyce Scott, as well as Wayne Strattman. They both receiving awards in the Studio Glass Field. Both have done exceptional work in the field. They both have contributed large amounts of their time and energy in preserving the core truth about glass art. Let’s take a look at Joyce Scott first.

The Many Accomplishments of Joyce and Wayne

Joyce has taken glass art to a whole new level. She has incorporated certain injustices into her work. She has taken issues like violence and racism and used glass art to speak out against it. Joyce said in a statement that it’s “the perfect platform.” Joyce feels that if she can change one person’s mind on these types of subjects, then her work is complete.

Wayne Strattman isn’t any different. He is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is only given out to those who have been dedicated to the platform of glass art. Strattman is definitely one person who is deserving of this award.

Wayne holds a Ph.D. in glass art. He has sat on the board of the Glass Art Society. He’s a very generous supporter of the organization. Strattman believes the integrity of what has been created before needs to be maintained.

Scott, who had previously won the MacArthur Genius Grant is beyond excited. Scott holds both a BFA and an MFA in art. Scott’s work has been featured in various magazines, particularly Urban Glass. Urban Glass is a staple in the glass world. Anyone who is anyone has a subscription.

When Will All of This Be Happening?

They will be getting these awards in June of 2017. The event will be held at the Museum of Art, in Virginia. It’s a three-day event. Tickets are available online for patrons. Click here for more information.

Famous Glass Art: Daum

The History of Daum – the Most Celebrated Type of Art Glass

Each and every glass company is directly responsible for its own success. How a company becomes a success is due to the spirit of the people involved. The management is also a primary focal point. If the management is not doing well, in any capacity, then the company will not do well either.

The Daum Glass Company

One company that has been the exception is the Daum Glass Company. Jean Daum was the one who founded the company. He was born in 1825 and died in 1885. Back when he first joined the company was still known as Verrerie Sainte Catherine. This was back when he was still doing the fiancé thing. The company was hitting some very hard times. Jean was the only one who took control of everything.

His background was not in being an artist, it was in being a notary and industrialist. No one at the time was coming to the rescue of the company. Jean did. He later said that it was more or less a “trial by fire.”

Jean and The Company: A Brief Look into the Trials

The first glass ever produced under this venture is and was known as clear glass. It was not glass art, by any stretch. Jean was taking the company onto a new path. The clear glass with some gold rims was primarily for dining and other meals. They are actually considered to be collectibles today. It wasn’t until 5 years after Jean died that the company first started working with Daum Nancy glass.

Jean and the company definitely had their trials they had to go through. One of which was passing down his legacy in the company to his kids. It was Jean, with the help of his kids, who laid down all the groundwork that you see today. Everything in the company is handmade. Daum and his staff made sure of it. He wanted the company that he took over to retain most of the true core values that he found when he first joined.

The State of the Company Now

The company is still around today. They mostly emphasize their work in crystal art now, though they still keep up with the glass art. Many have said their heyday was back in 1895 till 1914. This was a time when many patents were being originated. This was also a time when experimentation was at a peak. There was a lot of detail being paid to the construction and the decorations for the glass art. This was a special time for the company. One which will never be gotten back.

The sons of Jean Daum, Antonin and Auguste, began with the production of fine art glass in the Art Nouveau period. They refined the cameo glass techniques, developed their own individual style and gained international recognition. The company endured both world wars by shifting their production in the meantime from hand-made to industrial production, creating new glass art and also fabricating medical glassware.

If you would like to know more about the company and their work, please visit this link here.

Modern Amazing Glass Artists

Carol Milne and Her Knitted Glass Work

Many great glass artists exist today and are rated according to various standards from awards, popular designs, economic success and rating and respect of fellow artists. Carol Milne is one such artist that has worldwide respect and recognition for a particularly intricate design in glass that is call the Knitted Glass work.

This design garnered her the prestigious Silver Award at the 2010 exhibition in Kanazawa, Japan, for glass art. This International Exhibition of Glass is but one of the sources of recognition for Milne. She has also won numerous other high level awards. Her areas of mastery are the knitting, lost wax formation, molds, and kiln casting. She uses all those methods to create the knitted glass pieces.

Spectacular – Sergio Redegalli

Doing larger than life designs is the area that Sergio Redegalli of Australia owns. He works out of his Cydonia Glass Studio creating optifuse technique glass shapes. Optifuse is his own process, named by him for the way he takes the quality of broken glass shavings in one lump and maintains their fractured texture and appearance. One example of this is seen in his famous work, “Cascade.” He used materials that finally amounted to a twelve-ton sculpture that looks like a flowing wave. It was ordered for the 1988 World Expo of Brisbane, Australia. It can be viewed in person at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

Life-size Dress Sculpture by Karen LaMonte

After completing her full scholarship of studies at the Rhode Island School of Design, Karen LaMonte was recognized with an award for her life-sized cast-glass dress sculpture. It stood just as if worn but no legs, arms or appendages of any kind were protruding from it.

‘Vestige,’ the dress sculpture, put her on the map as far as fame and fortune were concerned. Since art does not get the recognition from the mainstream, many look on this achievement with a sense of low interest. Yet, colleagues are totally impressed and glad to assist their fellow artisans for a single opportunity.

Vestige Brings Prestige to Her Czech Studios

Seas of artists exist that are attracted to glass work of significance. It is not enough to just see a great painting, it is also necessary that the experts in the field recognize the results of a fellow artist. LaMonte impressed all of her peers and then some, with her development of special lost wax processes applied in her Czech Studios.

She is the recipient of nine awards for her works in glass. These are from places far apart in the world. Her home country of the United States awarded her with awards from the Smithsonian, American Art Museum and others on the global stage.

Famous Glass Art: Lalique

French Glass Artist of the Late 19th Century

The 1800s gave birth to more glass artists such as the very renowned and accomplished glass artist, René Lalique. He started out in 1881 as a freelancer. He worked in jewelry. His most absorbing pastimes were with three-dimensional art objects for decoration.

The Art Nouveau style vases he crafted along with perfume bottles, decanters and other cooking vessels were highly pleasing to see with reliefs of animal scenes, greenery and scenes of the forest. He created molds to reproduce these art objects for mass consumption of art lovers.

Coty Perfume Designer Bottles

Other items of Lalique were stemware, clocks, light fixtures, and items for the dining table. His more popular and world famous works were created in the year, 1902. From his studio and glass foundry, Clairfountaine on the outskirts of Paris, he created the moulded glass objects that were made using the lost wax process from jewelry making.

Francois Coty was one of Lalique’s first major clients. He was to become one of the most successful perfume vendors. Lalique designed sixteen different perfume bottles for Coty to sell his upscale designer perfumes on New York’s Fifth Avenue. They are still being sold today in these famous bottles that were designed for marketing in 1910.

Successful Glassworks of Combs-la-Ville

The demand was so good for the Coty perfume bottles that Lalique designed that he moved into the new Foundry, Combs-la-Ville, to continue onward with his fine glass works. He purchased the foundry with no loans. There the works were made with abundant, silica-rich, sands. Many artisan glass workers flocked to this special place to learn and work with Lalique. Lalique continued to further refine his processes leaving out lead, a common material in glass blowing. He used demi-crystals because they were less costly and easier to work with.

Tiara Tops

The perfume industry loved Lalique’s design for their fragrances. Other big names such as d’Orsay and Roger et Gallet also purchased his bottles and Lalique garnered more notoriety for his famous tiara stoppers that topped these bottles like a crown. The crowns were very attractive to the perfume shoppers and many bottles were sold. Lalique enjoyed being the creator of such beautiful containers that he designed some of his own for his own enjoyment called the Tantot and the Amphitrite.

From Bottles to Lovebirds

With the great successes of the perfume bottles, the new ideas flit about in the mind of Lalique and out of Combs-la-Ville bottle factory came some lovely sculptures and limited designs of vases. The more well-known are the pairs of parakeets and the captivating forms of lovebirds. This motif became his signature as he used it throughout his illustrious career.

Famous Glass Art: Murano

The City of Waterways

Gondolas bring to mind the Venetian times of the Holy Roman Empire. Molded glass works were inspirational to adorn many structures to remind the masses of their duty to God. Even the bathhouses had molded glassworks to give the clients light by which to bathe. Glassmakers thrived in the cities of Byzantium and other Roman metropolises. These works were found as far back as the 8th Century as documented by a successful archeological study in 1960 where in discovery the glass kilns had been unearthed.

Restrictive Glassmaker Regulations

The masons of glass or the Glassmakers Guild was a major industrial class with standards for the craftsmen to follow. This was a part of the economic strata of the 1200s when very refined objects of glass art were made. There was a reason for the existence of the Guild and it was rather secretive for the sake they said of keeping their precious formulas under wraps. This was for preservation of the trade. No employment of foreign workers was allowed and no importation of foreign glass was allowed either.

Wealthy Glassmakers

The practice of glass production isolationism grew even more restrictive in 1291 when all glass making was ordered to be moved to Murano from Venice. The excuse was to mitigate the risk of setting fire to the mainly wooden architecture in Venice. The truth was that the Guild meant to prohibit and hinder any glass trade secrets from leaking out to anyone or anywhere.

Things got even worse for glassmakers as they were soon to be confined to living in Murano and not leaving the city limits in 1295. The tradesmen were not to suffer completely as they were highly respected as some of the highest paid tradesmen of the day. The Murano glass workers lived privileged lives and moved upward into wealthy families by marriage.

Decline and Rebirth of Murano

Murano glass making was centered on the island of Murano. It has a crystalline enameled surface with threads of gold inlaid within. This effect is to give a sense of mounted gemstones with the alternation of gold threads and colored glass. The legendary Murano glass works are seen in paperweights, figurines, art glass, chandeliers stemware, sculpture, and dishes.

The art of the Murano techniques is still being used today even after the peak of its popularity in the 1500s. There is a significant Middle Eastern influence in the themes of these pieces of art with Asian and Muslim patterns and themes seen throughout. Many examples of these Murano glass art pieces can be seen in Venice at the Museo Del Vetro.

Murano glass almost died completely in 1814 when the Habsburgs, in their strong preference from Bohemian glassworks, used legislation to raise the production expenses for Murano raw materials with exorbitant tariffs on the materials. This smothered the industry causing the closure of all but five furnaces in Murano that manufactured Brown Glass.

Over time Murano reemerged as the legacy it had been built on with numerous artisans that practice this technique of fine glass art up to the present day. Artist such as Archimede Seguso, Fulvio, Barbinia, and Zuccheri have followed the path to international fame and popularity.

Famous Glass Art: Tiffany

Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Career Began in New York

The facets of glass make beautiful artwork as the experts will know. One such glass artist who worked glass and other forms of artwork was Louis Comfort Tiffany. His life was potentially one of a rich sloth, yet he decided to improve on his birth in the lap of luxury as the son of a highly successful New York jeweler by carving his own notch in the belt of high end artisanship. Putting his mind in the annuls of art, he studied the greats while a young student in New York. Then, as all serious artists do, he took some time in the most artistic of cities, Paris, France.

Emile in Nancy

His early and important inspirational mentor was Émile Gallé, whom he met in Nancy, France. This man was a great glass artist. In the center of the Art Nouveau movement, Tiffany learned all he could about glass art. He also filled his imagination with his exposure to Japanese calligraphy and printing. Other art was attracting his mind as he marveled at Middle Eastern works and pots from Ancient Roman clay potteries. This period gave him a foundation from which his own artistic talents grew.

Once he arrived back home in America, Tiffany filled his art studio with brushes, oils and canvass to successfully become a much-sought after interior decorator. Although a side venture, this work really took off.

By the year 1875, his talents yielded his own named company called Louis Comfort Tiffany and Associated Artists where he had more than one hundred artisans who worked under his banner.

Founding the Foundry

From 1878 to 1933, Tiffany Studios in New York along with all his designers created wonderful stained glass artworks that were crafted in his glass foundry and studios. He was known to have developed ‘Favrile’ glass which has the quality of iridescence and antiquity. The effect was installed in the mixture step of various glass colors while they were hot.

The finished glass gives the mind a feeling of the ancients, perhaps from his keen interest in Roman and ancient Syrian glass that he observed while visiting an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum. There were several other glass media that Tiffany worked in and those were Opalescent glass which is a blend of colors within the glass. This process involved silver nitrate in the glass lamination step that offers a rainbow effect to the surface of the glass. Tiffany used this mode of staining glass as the foundation of most of his glass art.

Three-Dimensional Glass

Works from Tiffany also involved Steamer glass that is three-dimensional as it has been made with glass strings that are fused to the surface for images of branches, twigs, grass and other plants. The look of irregularity becomes art with the technique of fracture glass where a pieces of glass layers or wafers are fused on top of one another to create a textured surface that gives depth and perspective for foliage scenes. Ring Mottle and Ripple glass techniques were also used by Tiffany with great expertise in his company that can be considered one of the most highly respected in its class by the entire world.

What are its origins?

Glass blowing originated in the Middle East approximately 2000 years ago. It was invented when Middle Eastern glass makers created a metal pipe that they used to shape the glass. This is how we get clear, translucent glass. Until this process was developed, glass was primarily made by grinding and casting glass materials, resulting in an opaque pottery like glass. The glass making technique was adopted by the Romans, who heavily used it in their empire. The art of making glass came to the New World when Captain John Smith brought glassblowers from Europe to make glass in the Jamestown colony.