Musée d'Orsay: Emile Gallé Vase flacon

Emile Gallé
Vase flacon

Vase flacon
Emile Gallé (1846-1904)
Vase flacon
Between 1892 and 1900
Several layers of blown glass, metal inclusions, wheel-cut decoration, applications
H. 21; W. 11.5 cm
© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt

Vase flacon

Vase flacon

This bottle decorated with bunches of grapes, dates from the 1890s when the vine motif was being developed by Emile Gallé. It recalls the bottle Mysterious Grapes , created in 1892 for Count Robert de Montesquiou and based on one of his poems, but particularly resembles another bottle now in the Suntory Museum of Tokyo.
Perhaps Mysterious Grapes inspired Gallé to produce other examples in this shape, relatively rare in his work and probably influenced by the traditional Chinese hardstone bottles, and which he himself named the "spirit bottle".

Gallé’s prolific inspiration only rarely limited itself to one single piece, and he produced many variations in shape and decoration.
We could therefore consider these three bottles as part of a series, with this example as the only "silent" one. There is no text on it, whereas there are four lines of verse by Montesquiou engraved onMysterious Grapes and the Suntory vase is engraved with verses by Baudelaire.

However, it has a very accomplished decoration, with the area reserved for the quotations on the other two bottles engraved with motifs.
The underside of the base is also meticulously decorated with a chrysanthemum flower. Indeed, the various techniques used on this work (multi-layered glass, metal inclusions, applications of glass pieces and gold leaf) demonstrate the care taken in producing it.

Finally, a comparison of the three bottles reveals a variation in the tones, from an intoxicating violet to pale pink and bright red.
These three shades conjure up both the ripening of the grapes and the mysterious alchemy of the alcoholic fermentation that transforms the sweetened fruit juice into a sophisticated drink.

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