VIC-SUR-SEILLE.- The Georges de La Tour Museum in Vic-sur-Seille, a site owned by the Moselle Conseil Général, is paying homage to Emile Gallé (1846-1904), who founded the École de Nancy in 1901. He was committed to regenerating the arts of decoration, and became one of the pioneers of Art Nouveau. Emile Gallé, who was always strongly interested in nature, became interested in representing shapes he had found, whether in flowers or animals, in decorations for glassware. He also developed the art of ornamentation on furniture and other objects.
With 150 exceptional pieces - ceramics, glassware, and preparatory drawings - the exhibition is dedicated to revealing the importance of Nature, symbolism and Japan in Gallés art. Numerous objects drawn from prestigious collections - especially Japanese ones - are on display to the French public for the first time.
A highly talented scientist, and renowned botanist, Emile Gallé had a genuine passion for Nature. He considered that every thing, every object was, and had to be, unique. He had great admiration for objets dart. Gallés principles were based on in-depth studies of plants, trees, leaves, algae, and insects, in all their shapes and shadings. He was a naturalist and an artist at the same time; he sought out the harmony between the motif and its representation in graphic lines.
The Art of Japan
This irresistible attraction for nature led him to develop an interest in Far Eastern art and to immerse himself in the Japanese culture that Europe had discovered in the middle of the nineteenth century. He appreciated its sensitivity towards Nature and drew inspiration from it, while still maintaining his own ideas. Gallé was thus to regenerate both European and Japanese art at the same time to create a new - and eminently personal - art, which brought together the two cultures. His meeting in 1885 with a Japanese student, Tokouso Takashima, who had come to study botany in Nancy, strengthened him in his tastes. In parallel, he deepened his studies in botany, which he made use of in extremely elaborate ways, not only in his work as a master glassblower but also in his creations in ceramics and wood. These works in celebration of nature are particularly evocative not just for the Japanese but for Europeans too. This fascination has never failed since Émile Gallé was rediscovered at the beginning of the 1960s, so much so that many Japanese consider him as forming part of their own cultural heritage.
150 Prestigious Works
This exhibition presents over 150 pieces drawn from the prestigious collections of the Hida Takayama Museum and the Suntory Museum of Art in Japan, the collections of the Tsars of Russia (the Hermitage Museum), the Court of Denmark, and great museums in Germany (Düsseldorf and Hamburg). Some pieces are on display in France for the first time. The international origin of the works testifies to Gallés great renown, not only in his own lifetime but also to the current fascination of collectors and museums throughout the world.
The ceramics section (around 60 pieces) displays dinner services with various motifs: herbal, heraldic flowers, Japanese stylings, seafood, and so on. The combat pieces illustrate the return of Alsace and Lorraine to France, and also his commitment to freedom, both of peoples and of conscience.
The works in glass (around 80 pieces) focus on several floral themes: thistles, chrysanthemums, magnolias, hortensias, forests, and so on; and on fauna: dragonflies, butterflies, bats, etc. Dragon and Pelican, inspired by a Hokusai drawing, is dedicated to Irish patriots in their struggle against England, and the Orobanche vases which illustrate the support Gallé provided to Captain Dreyfus are works that evoke the humanist combats which he led throughout his life. Thirty preparatory drawings and studies are related to the works.