Musée d'Orsay: Emile Gallé Flower Stand

Emile Gallé
Flower Stand

Flower Stand
Emile Gallé (1846-1904)
Flower Stand
Modèle créé vers 1880-1884
Faience, décor in underglaze blue and gold on bluish tin enamel, relief applications
H. 13; W. 33; W. 21 cm
© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

Jardinière [Flower Stand]

The nineteenth century's craze for seventeenth-century Dutch painting is perceptible in Gallé's ceramics. It can be seen in his landscapes dominated by water and sky, enlivened by figures, boats and village houses. This kind of décor is found in numerous objects of various shapes and sizes. A table service bears the highly suggestive name of Delft, a name justified as much by the technique of underglaze monochrome blue decoration evoking the famous Delft tiles as by the views which decorate various parts of the service. This beautifully executed flower stand has the same evocative power, due to the beauty of the paste, the skilful dilution of the paint, the restrained use of gold highlights and the finesse and expert application of the décor.

The piece is also characteristic of Gallé's endless search for harmony between form and decor, a harmony which readily plays on the baroque distortion of proportions. The shape of the stand mimics an outrageously enlarged seashell and a life-sized shell is used several times in relief to decorate the walls of the stand, while the painted scene depicts its natural milieu.

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