Victor Prouvé, Emile Gallé Oil on canvas, 1892 Musée d`Orsay, Paris

Bitten by a dragonfly!

Émile Gallé was a leading artist of the Art noveau style and was able to put his love for insects, animals and flowers into vases, porcelain and furniture, to capture their beauty into usable objects, creating pieces of art at the same time. Starting from his childhood, Gallé developed an almost ecstatic love for mother nature. One of his favourite designs seemed to be the dragonfly, an insect so tiny and delicate, but it can also be a danger to your life….

Victor Prouvé, Emile Gallé Oil on canvas, 1892 Musée d`Orsay, Paris
Victor Prouvé, Emile Gallé
Oil on canvas, 1892
Musée d`Orsay, Paris

Gallé, born 1846 in Nancy, started studying zoology, botanics and minerology, because he drew inspiration from observing nature while walking through the woods. Who could have anticipated, that his life could have been endangered by a very special, flying insect, Gallé used to capture in his creations….

I`ve heard about the myth, that if you can make a dragonfly bite you, (did you know, you can be bitten by those little `dragons`?) you would be able to swim. People, who believed in this Asian folklore, made a dragonfly `bite` their bellybuttons and jumped right after into the river. Not surprisingly, those people didn’t turn into swimmers like Michael Phelps and so many drowned… In Asian countries, people are very fond of myths and tall tales and it is not as common to be able to swim, than compared to people in Europe.

Émile Gallé might has been also influenced by this mystic creature, at least we know he didnt try to go for a swim after. He is rather a great example for taking natures manifold designs and use them for his artwork which will endure more time than the tiny living inspirations.

He used natural forms to create intricate patterns on vases and designed unique tables, which will catch everyones eye, standing in your living room. I guess it would be easier to buy such a table, than to catch one of those speedy insects…

1. Vase by Émile Gallé Cameo glass vase with dragonflies  and lilys, 1900 Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy, Nancy 2.  Table by Emile Gallé  Height 75 cm, 1900 Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy, Nancy
1. Vase by Émile Gallé
Cameo glass vase with dragonflies
and lilys, 1900
Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy, Nancy
2. Table by Emile Gallé
Height 75 cm, 1900
Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy, Nancy

Gallé with his colourful glass and handicrafted wood work, brought the spirit of nature and fine arts together and shared it with poeple and collectors who also love the delicate beauty of nature. If you want to find out more about Émile Gallés life and to see more of his artwork, have a look at Parkstone International’s Best of book.

E.S.

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