The famous French glass artist Emile Galle was born in Nancy, France in 1846 into a rapidly industrializing world with major scientific advances. His father Charles Galle owned a ceramics and glassmaking factory, and in his early years Emile was exposed academically to botany, art, entomology,and chemistry, disciplines which were to serve him well in his later artistic career. In his teens, Galle traveled widely and even fought in the war between France and Prussia, and in London he was fascinated by the enameling techniques seen in the oriental collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. He began working for the Burgun, Schverer glass company in Meisenthal before establishing his own company in 1873. While he found experimenting with classical and enameled designs interesting, his aspirations were dramatically expanded when seeing the International Exhibition in Paris in 1878. There, he was exposed in particular to the cameo glass of Joseph Locke and John Northwood from England and Eugene Rousseau in pate de verre. Galle was about to combine his love of nature, his chemical training, and his artistic eye to the worlds of cameo glass, caramics, marquetry, and beyond.
Galle opened a small woodworkers shop in 1885 where he began experimenting in marquetry designs in furniture, and he continued working at his father's factory. In 1889, Emile Galle displayed his new glass creations at the Paris International Exhibition, designs and colors not previously seen and causing an immediate sensation. The new style of Art Nouveau had begun to appear, and Art Nouveau aesthetics and love of nature appealed naturally to the still young Emile Galle. Burgun, Schverer produced Galle's designs when he first established his studio, but in 1894 Galle built his own manufacturing plant in Nancy and began creating his own designs from inception through production. Galle personally created many of the designs, and he was known to actively make alterations and approve the designs of his talented team of designers and craftsmen he employed at the "Cristallerie D'Emile Galle."
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