The Gallé signatures on glass after 1904 : a tentative chronology (part I, 1904-1920)

Some new chronological markers on the 1910s and 1920s glass production runs.

Fig. 1. The main Gallé signatures after 1904 (from left to right : Budapest Museum of Applied Arts 68.247.1 KA ; Aguttes 07/06/2015 lot 133 ; 11/06/2014 lot 132, 138).

The Établissements Gallé signatures typology is known, but what about its chronology? There are almost countless Gallé signatures catalogues, from Ada Polak’s seminal article in 1964 to the exhaustivity seeking reference tables of Philippe Olland in 2016. And yet, beyond the datation of the “Gallé with star” signature immediately after Émile Gallé’s death (with a disputed chronology), very little is known about the chronology of the various signatures in use from 1904 to 1936. The First World War is considered as a major break in the company’s history, reflected in a change of signatures – mistakenly as we shall see – and that’s about the extent of the common knowledge on the matter. The many new signatures introduced in the 1920s remain unexplained and undated beyond this general qualification.

For the most part, this lack of data is of course the product of the loss of the Gallé archives. But it perhaps stems also from an insufficient effort to relate these switches of signatures to the company’s history. The Gallé name was of course more than ever a core value for the Etablissements Gallé after 1904, their identity : it had to be protected and exploited at the same time, which made the matter of the signature all the more crucial. No change was gratuitous or trivial. With that in mind, a close reexamination of the different signatures in light of the Établissements Gallé’s history can lead to a reconstructed chronology of these modifications, and then of the glass production thus marked.

Some preliminary remarks on the signature.

What’s the function of the signature? One can list four core functions of the signatures in Gallé’s case :

  • Identification: First, it identifies the item’s maker. So, every item must be signed, of course, but it’s not enough. The signature must also be easy to spot : no more signatures under the base of a vase (a practice which ceased after the opening of the cristallerie in Nancy in 1894 [1]), or hidden in the decor pattern as to be almost invisible. Later Gallé vases proudly sport their signature, most often raised as etched in cameo (rather than engraved on hollow) on a clear, if peripheral, part of the background, for better contrast. See as an example of this tendency the relief (mould blown) plums vases. One could get as far as to state that in the 1920s, the signature is an integral part of the decor.

  • Authentification. Second, it authenticates the item and can differentiate it from imitators and even forgers. This second function allows for some discrete changes in the signature’s design, to fool the forgers – for instance from the latin -é to the greek epsilon.

  • Continuity. Third, it conveys continuity over changes – such as changes in the product line, the commercial practices, the company management, etc. This means changes in the signature must not prevent the recognition of the brand : they must be relatable to previous ones, hence the use of modified existing signatures to create new ones.

  • Differentiation. Fourth, it can be used by the company to differentiate its products like Schneider did with Charder and Le Verre français during the same period. In this instance, the difference was the glass technical and artistic quality and thus the commercial target. Something similar probably existed for Gallé in the 1920s, when different signatures coexisted, for different series and different sizes and perhaps quality levels. But it could as easily concern the will to distinguish different markets or geographical areas of distribution. In the Gallé case, there was always a fierce competition between the sales representatives and/or the depot managers to get the most orders – since they were cut a percentage of the sales. The general management had to referee disputes regarding their respective area of activity [2]. One way to ensure that a given market was getting his glass from the right Gallé representative could have been by limiting to a particular mark or set of marks. This is pure speculation for now, but it should probably be investigated as a potential valuable explanation of the signatures disparities.

To summarise these preliminary remarks, all Gallé marketable items were signed ; different signatures existed and changes were made to them, which reflected different and sometimes perhaps competing goals. This was most certainly a process of trial and error : the clients' reaction to some changes undoubtedly affected the company’s policy, as the Gallé with star signature demonstrated.

When the signature did not change.

To determine when the Gallé signature was modified, it’s important first to recognise when it wasn’t, even though such a change seemed warranted, perhaps even inevitable. There were several such occasions :

  • In May 1914, with the death of Henriette Gallé, widow and successor of Émile Gallé. Her heirs – the four Gallé sisters – decided to keep the family business undivided and trusted its management to one of Henriette Gallé’s son-in-law, the only one residing in Nancy, who had been groomed for this very goal since 1910 at least, Paul Perdrizet. It’s important to note though that officially the company manager was not him but one of the sisters, the only one still a bachelor, Claude Gallé : Gallé stayed thus Gallé. A modification of the signature could have heralded this passing of the baton to the next generation, with perhaps a minor change, in a manner reminiscent of the 1904 transition between husband and wife marked by the added star. But precisely, the mishaps of this previous change, and the loss of trust it had fostered among clients, seemed to have weighted against any modification. Continuity was deemed the priority and no changes we can track were made.

  • During the First World War, the reopening of the factory in January 1915, with a much reduced staff and production capacity, the restarting of the main furnace in February 1917, or better yet the relocation of the glassmaking in the Schneider factory in July 1918, were all potential occasions with the need to differentiate the new production from the old – maybe only temporarily – and thus the introduction of a modified signature. That was not the case : the signature remained unchanged during the whole conflict and its twists.

  • In November 1918, the end of the war brought a fresh start with the rebuilding of the production apparatus (a new main furnace) and the return of the mobilised workforce… and management alike : Paul Perdrizet was demobilised in December 1918 and returned to Nancy to take back his role as acting manager, which he had had to delegate to his sister-in-law and to the factory director, Émile Lang, during his absence. In view of these changes, quite naturally, the end of 1918 or the beginning of 1919 is commonly seen as marking the introduction of a new signature. It was not the case because, here again, continuity was far more important in reality than it seemed until recently. There was no real change in management : it had already happened in the spring of 1914 and been slowly but steadily reinforced since, during the transformative period of the war. To Perdrizet and Lang, there certainly was no need considering a change, and they kept the same signature as before and during the war.

When did the signature change?

So, if continuity was paramount to the brand, when did occur changes important enough which materialised as a new signature? From what we know of the company history after 1918, two major events stand out, the replacement of the Paris depot manager in August 1920 and the incorporation of the family association in a new company, the Etablissements Gallé SA, in July 1925. These are two episodes so important in the Gallé history as to warrant their articles on this website, but for the moment, we will simply acknowledge their significance for the trademark and why they most probably spurred on the need to make a change.

The immediate war aftermath was already a turbulent period for the Établissements Gallé, with social unrest, the death or the departure of two major designers and collaborators, respectively Paul Nicolas and Louis Hestaux in the summer of 1919 [3]. But it turned even more eventful with an often overlooked move : the sacking of Albert Daigueperce as the Paris depot manager in 1920 and his replacement with the former main travelling salesman, Willy Mohrenwitz. This change of staff was crucial because Daigueperce’s role in the rise of the Établissements Gallé was perhaps unparalleled, in the commercial side of the business. Mohrenwitz was experienced enough, but he certainly did not have the clout nor the connections Albert Daigueperce acquired during a quarter of a century while being the sole representative of Gallé in Paris, responsible for almost half the gross income of the company [4]. The falling out between Gallé and Daigueperce was widely publicised by both sides – with competing circulars – and it made sense for the Établissements Gallé to reinforce this change of management in Paris, coinciding with the renewal of the designers team in Nancy, by switching to a new signature and making a clean break.

In July 1925, for regulatory reasons, the company experienced another transformation when it had to ditch its opaque family association status to become a full corporation, with shares and an elected board of directors. Even if the board was entirely composed of family members and close friends, it was innately a very publicised change (with a new company letterhead for instance), since the corporate name itself was involved. It seems thus logical to recognise this modification with a new signature. The introduction, this same year, of a major new line of products (the relief glass pieces) was another strong argument favouring this change.

When did it end? A quick note on the chronology of the final shutdown of the factory.

The closing date for the signature’s use is frequently given as 1931, even in some recent reference books [5]. That’s a mistake, already corrected long ago by François Le Tacon [6] : 1931 is the year the main furnace was shut down and many employees were laid off, but activity did continue at a brisk pace for some time after that, as shown by the general bookkeeping summaries that are preserved for 1930-1936 [7].

The Gallé retail shop in Nancy was shut down in December 1935 [8], but sales did go on at the factory the following year. The company was finally liquidated in July 1936 only, with the fire sales of the last assets and stock on the 28th August [9]. Therefore, the correct last year of activity is 1936, even if most (all ?) of the designer’s team was dismissed as early as the Autumn of 1931.

A proposal for a new nomenclature.

For clarity, at least within this article, I will put forward a new nomenclature for the Gallé signatures. It will allow alleviating somewhat the text by removing all the cumbersome paraphrases like “underline crossed-G“ or “horizontal ornate Japanese styled“ that I had taken to use in a previous version of this article to reference the signature. It also has the benefit of insisting on a general structure of the signatures' system, by reducing (some will say unreasonably) the multitude of known specimens to a few general types. I settled on a simple Roman numbering system, with the numbers attributed in the chronological order of the signatures’ creation, that I will justify each in its turn.

With that in mind, I will name :

  • Gallé Mark I or Gallé Mk I : the “proto”-Gallé signature for industrial series, sporadically in use before 1905, and chosen as the basis for the uniform signature after that.

  • Gallé Mk II : the Gallé with star underlined signature, basically Mk I with a star. Subtypes come from the location of the star, above or below the cut G, and from the use of the epsilon or from the presence of a loop at the end.

  • Gallé Mk III : the Gallé underlined crossed-G, in effect a return to Mk I, with the same subtypes.

  • Gallé Mk IV : the simple or straight Gallé signature (without underscore), without much variation across the period.

  • Gallé Mk V : the Gallé so-called “Pi“ signature, with the overlined LL, but also and foremost an inverted tail of the G – the tail’s curve is descending instead of ascending.

  • Gallé Mk VI : the Gallé underlined tangent-G signature.

  • Gallé Mk VII : the first of the so-called Gallé Japanese styled vertical signature.

  • Gallé Mk VIII : the Gallé Japanese styled horizontal vertical signature, more ornate than the previous.

  • Gallé Mk IX : the Gallé Japanese styled ornate vertical signature – one could easily argue that it is a subtype of Mk VIII.

  • Gallé Mk X : all the very rare signatures which do not fall under one of the general previous types, like the cuneiform script one for instance. For this first instalment on Gallé signatures, I will not dwell on all the variants but simply keep the cuneiform one as a representative, albeit that other subtypes do not have anything to do with this design.

Within these general types, I will distinguish subtypes, if needed, by adjoining a letter to the Roman number (Mk IIIa, Mk IIIb, etc.). The table above is a simplified version of the general one I will present in the second part of this study. Rather than copying the existing numerous drawings [10], I made a new vectorial trace of each type’s design from a high resolution picture of a specimen, chosen for its undisputed provenance and datation [11].

Gallé Mk I (1904 and before) : the prototype of the signature for industrial series.

According to François Le Tacon [12], the prototype for the signature generalised after 1904 featured on the shade of a lighting fixture that Emile Gallé had had made for his personal use : the lamp adorned a room in the family house, avenue de la Garenne in Nancy. It was a four layers acid etched glass dome on top of a dragonfly shaped brass tripod, with a pattern of umbels. The signature was also acid etched on the surface : its composition was limited to the Gallé name, with an underscore attached to the final -é (written using the Greek epsilon -έ) and cutting back the tail of the initial G. Other umbels decorated lamps, a popular theme in the Gallé line at the time, sport this same signature, from the same period, as evidenced by the ceiling fixture from the Musée de l’École de Nancy pictured above.

The signature itself was created some time before, perhaps between 1895 and 1900 for some acid etched series, but it was far from exclusive, being only one of many signatures in use for these glass pieces. This much is clear from the industrial series which were already in production before Émile Gallé’s death and remained on the company’s lineup several years after, like the acer negundo and hydrangea floral types : their pre-1905 specimens feature many signatures, all replaced with the standard one afterwards.

It seems nevertheless fair to start the post-1904 Gallé signatures’ numbering with this one because the 1905 starred signature was ostensibly presented as the mere modification of this preexisting model and not as a creation. It was therefore Henriette Gallé, most probably with the advice of Émile Lang, the director of the factory, and Albert Daigueperce, the manager of the Gallé depot in Paris, who decided to standardise the signature and to select one simple enough for that effect. Symbolically, this decision reflected the general different outlook of the new direction, now focused on making the enterprise profitable again, after years of commercial losses which had threatened the company’s life.

Gallé Mk II (1905-1908) : the underlined crossed-G Gallé with star signature.

Fig. 3. Before and after the star : two nearly identical Hydrangea gourd shaped vases, left before 1905 (Quittenbaum 26/05/2020 lot 81), right between 1905 and 1908 (Quittenbaum 26/05/2020 lot 82), ©Quittenbaum 2020.

Henriette Gallé did not merely pick up one signature to become the universal mark of the Gallé brand. She also settled on a distinctive sign to add to this preexisting signature. To recognise the new era opened up by the disappearance of her husband, she accepted the suggestion, perhaps coming from Daigueperce, to affix to the signature an asterisk or a star. This is all well known, thanks to the oral testimony of René Dézavelle, a former Gallé employee, assigning a 1904-1906 chronology to this practice [13]. Unfortunately, as I have demonstrated elsewhere, this testimony was mistaken [14].

Émile Gallé died on the 23rd September 1904, at a time of the year when the factory was busy preparing the next winter holiday season. This was no time for a change across the line. Besides, it took some time to the family to regroup after this catastrophic loss and to charter a new course : according to Françoise-Charpentier [15], Henriette Gallé waited until 1906 before sending a letter [16] to the company’s main clients and dealers to inform them of her decision to take up her late husband’s mantle. It’s possible that this memorable date was conflated with the end of the Gallé with star signature. With Henriette Gallé recognised officially as a “maître verrier“, there was no need to maintain a mark associated with an uncertain transitional period and disliked by the clients who saw no use for it – if the industrial series were the same, why devalue these glass pieces with a mark letting people believe it was no longer really some Gallé ?

But this star wasn’t added in late 1904 nor was it dropped as early as 1906. Several letters from Henriette Gallé to Albert Daigueperce show that the first decision was not made before January 1905 and perhaps as late as July of the same year, still in time to mark the bulk of 1905’s glass production [17].

These letters also imply that for all intent and purpose, there was also only one type of signature with the star. Nothing is said about the various slightly different styles this signature features across the industrial series during this period. The most common type has the five-pointed star located just left to the upper part of the G’s tail, above the underscore. But other subtypes exist : one has the star below the underscore ; another has a final latin -é rather than the more common accented epsilon ; yet another one has this same -é and lacks the underscore. How the underscore is attached to the -é, with or without a small loop, define yet other subtypes. All these subtypes belong to genuine Gallé vases – some of these signatures even appear on the design stencils from the factory. It looks like some of these variants are linked to specific designs. They may also reflect the hand of the particular drawer designing these series. It would require an investigation well beyond the scope of this article to verify these hypotheses, but the silence from the written sources, as scarce as they are, seems meaningful : these modifications were probably not considered a big deal, and they should not be viewed as constituting a different general type. All these signatures also shared an important characteristic : they were raised, acid etched in cameo on the body of the glass piece, and not intaglio engraved.

Gallé Mk III (1908-1919/1920) : the underlined crossed-G Gallé signature.

The discontinuation of the star came three years after its introduction, in May 1908, because of some clients’ recriminations according to Henriette Gallé as well as Émile Lang. The latter, in a May 1st letter to Daigueperce, adds some important information [18] :

Following various letters from clients who claim that everything that bears the star is no longer Gallé, Mrs Gallé has just decided that going forward it would be removed and that the signature would be made Gallé this way [drawing with a curved line going back over the name up to the G]. I know for a fact that the competition has nicely taken advantage of this star to make a good campaign out of it and that its purpose has paid off ; the matter is therefore settled and if some of yours clients comment on it, you know what to say to them. Besides, Mrs Gallé also decided to make every two to three years a change, as small that it would be at the signature, to throw the competition off its track [19].

The star was gone because it was hurting commercially the company by seemingly distancing itself ever so slightly from its founder. This actually remained true almost until now : in the late 1960s and 1970s, when the Gallé glass series became prized again on the antiques’ market, quite a few unscrupulous dealers took upon themselves to erase the star from the signature that devalued in their eyes the pieces [20]. Henriette Gallé had acknowledged herself this possibility in 1908 [21], to dismiss the real importance, in her eyes, of the whole matter :

It would be so easy for anyone to make the star disappear, but you will never make a hydrangea vase a rare piece.

In any case, the lesson was well learned in 1908 : the direction simply dropped the star and reverted to the preexisting signature, abandoning quickly the various alternate changes that had been under consideration. For there is no evidence that the new design put forward by Émile Lang in his letter was ever adopted.

An aborted change of signature ca. 1912?

The need to use the signature as a means of differentiation and authentication remained, though. This is shown by the same Henriette Gallé’s letter in May 1908, where she muses about just switching the star’s location to the right of the name, rather than removing it completely [22]: some very rare vases sporting a right star signature might come from a test sample of this kind – but most of them rather look to be forgeries (fig. XX).

Other solutions were evidently envisioned. In the Charpentier work notes from the Daigueperce account books, referencing an observation ca. 1912, a laconic mention reads as follows (see the picture) :

After the star, -ll crossed out [23] to mark the difference, i.e. a uniform Gallé [24]. Perdrizet picked up different signatures, over-moulded.

Important as it seems, this quote is quite difficult to decipher, due to the lack of context. It’s far from clear for instance if it relates to a specific 1912 change of signature or if it’s only a note in passing. It is true that some examples of the Mk III signature do exhibit a slight difference in the way the LLs are drawn : the apex of the stem (i.e. the top end), instead of being simply straight, sports a little stroke extending to the left – perpendicular or going down. Simply said, in typographical terms, these are serif LLs while the sans-serif were usually the norm. But these serif LLs did already exist with the Mk II signature, so it’s not evident at all that it was a distinct change made there after 1908. What’s more, does it really qualify as LLs being crossed out?

A very rare subtype – if we can even call that – of the Mk III signature shows indeed a little bar across the LLs ascenders, but it is so uncommon that it could as well be a mistake [25].

Moreover, the signature Françoise-Thérèse Charpentier sketched in her notes does not suggest this kind of almost imperceptible change but a rather sweeping one, much more reminiscent of a pre-1904 signature [26]. On this signature, the oversized lobe of the G is almost symmetrical to its tail ; it extends over the other letters and returns in a loop to cross the LLs stems. See the example above on a bat themed vase, where this incised signature is unusually complemented by a star – which could perhaps be explained by a post-1904 completion [27]. There is absolutely no evidence to support the suggestion that this kind of signature was reintroduced after 1908 for the industrial series. One wonders therefore what happened there : one probable explanation is that this was a proposal by the Gallé direction which was abandoned, if indeed it refers to a 1912 exchange with Daigueperce [28].

Whatever the case of this cryptic note, what transpires is the Gallé direction’s will, first, to keep a unique identifiable signature across their line ; second, to distinguish it from the previous one ; third, to pick the new one from the vast catalogue of existing pre-1904 Gallé signatures. These principles were indeed those applied during the whole industrial era of the Établissements Gallé, and it looks like they were formulated during the early 1910s. This note also reflect some hesitation during this period as to which signature to choose.

The explicit mention of Perdrizet is also interesting because it comes at a time when he was immersing himself in the Gallé business, although he had no official capacity yet in the management. He would also have been particularly interested, as an epigraphist by trade, with this side of the business : his personal involvement in the matter is all the more credible.

An enduring signature

Fig. 8. A sample of the Mk III signature between 1915 and 1920, showing the different techniques used (cameo, intaglio, enamelled). From left to right : Eagle and thistles vase, 1915, Musée Lorrain, Nancy ; Cathedral of Reims, 1915, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Reims ; Algae vase, 1917, private collection ; Enamelled landscape vase, 1919-1920, private collection.

If this Mark III signature seemed to have been kept a bit reluctantly after 1908, almost by default, it ended being the most enduring one in the post-1904 Gallé history, with a 12-year run until 1920. One could even argue that this was really more than a 16-year run because this Mk III signature was the same as the Mk II without the star, no more than the revamped Mk I : acid etched in cameo – but also in a few rare cases, in hollow –, Gallé with the underscore cutting back the G’s tail, featuring most commonly a terminal -έ but also sometimes a latin -é, attached to the underscore by a small loop – or not. These variations do not look any more chronologically meaningful than they were in their previous iterations with the star. And the fact that they already existed between 1905 and 1908 goes against the hypothesis that they were created to satisfy the desire to introduce some slight modification, to fool the competition, as Lang had announced in 1908. Much further investigation will again be needed to disprove this tentative conclusion.

What looks clear, however, now that new archives have emerged about the First World War period, is that this cataclysmic event did not have any effect on the Gallé practices regarding the signature [29].

All the identified glass series from the period of the war and its immediate aftermath (1919-1920) show the same general Mk III signature : that’s the case for the “war vases“, the patriotic series from 1915 (the burning cathedral of Reims, the various German eagle and Lorraine thistles fights, etc.). That’s still true for the Spring of 1917 defective series (e.g. algae and ferns red on orange vases) and, most notably, for the last designs from Hestaux and the first ones from Rouppert (the enamelled landscapes and floral series) in 1919-1920. There is a distinct possibility that the later vases feature the latin -é subtype of this Mk III signature, as shown in the two examples above, but some additional work is needed to confirm it. And anyway, this subtype was already well attested before the war, for instance in the 1909 commemorative/historical series for the Exposition internationale de l’Est de la France.

That the war did not have any major incidence on the Gallé signature is an important conclusion [30]. It explains all kind of irregularities in the previously accepted system, when vases belonging to the war period or to its immediate aftermath had to be antedated considering their signature. This also explains why some vases are identical despite their different signatures : they are not separated by a five year hiatus but part of the same series spanning a few months when the signature was changed, in late 1920.

(to be continued)

© Samuel Provost, 28 December 2020


Bibliography

  • Hakenjos B. 2012, Emile Gallé: Keramik, Glas und Möbel des Art Nouveau, Barten S., Harder H. (ed.), Munich, Hirmer.

  • Hartmann C. 1997, Glasmarken-Lexikon 1600-1945: Signaturen, Fabrik- und Handelsmarken : Europa und Nordamerika, Stuttgart, Arnoldsche.

  • Le Tacon F. 1993, “Les techniques et les marques sur verre des Établissements Gallé après 1918”, Le Pays Lorrain, 74, 4, p. 203‑218.

  • Le Tacon F. 1998, L’œuvre de verre d’Émile Gallé, Paris, Éd. Messene.

  • Olland Ph. 2016, Dictionnaire des maîtres verriers : marques et signatures : de l’Art nouveau à l’Art déco, Dijon, Éditions Faton.

  • Provost S. 2017, “La signature Gallé à l’étoile : une révision chronologique et une estimation quantitative”, Journal of Glass Studies, 39, p. 349‑365.


Footnotes

  1. Le Tacon 1998, p. 190. ↩︎

  2. For instance and perhaps surprisingly the Paris depot and the Frankfurt one were frequently at odds regarding their respective markets in the 1910s : letter from Paul Perdrizet to Henriette Gallé, 15th June 1912 (private collection). ↩︎

  3. For more on this, see Provost S., “Les Établissements Gallé dans les années vingt : déclin et essaimage”, Revue de l’Art, 199, 1, p. 47‑54 [open access link]. ↩︎

  4. After being sacked by Gallé, Albert Daigueperce kept an influential role in the Chambre syndicale de la céramique et de la verrerie, the national association for ceramics and glass makers. He also retained a friendly relationship with many of the main Gallé artists and collaborators. ↩︎

  5. Olland 2016, p 157. ↩︎

  6. Le Tacon 1998, p. 192, 199. ↩︎

  7. Archives Françoise-Thérèse Charpentier, private collection. ↩︎

  8. “Avis”, L’Est Républicain, 08/12/1935. ↩︎

  9. “Vente aux enchères publiques par lots”, Est Républicain 23rd August 1936 ↩︎

  10. It should be noted that, unfortunately, none of the existing general catalogues of Gallé signatures’ designs take the trouble to identify the original source. For this reason among others, catalogues of photographed signatures – like the ones from the German museums in general – are preferable to drawings. ↩︎

  11. Mark I : Algae vase, Hentrich Glasmuseum Düsseldorf mkp. P 1970-255.

    Mark II : Octopus vase, ca. 1905-1908, Hentrich Glasmuseum Düsseldorf mkp. P 1970-216 ; Mk IIa : Couleru-Pittet vase, 1908-11-02, Genève enchères 2017-09-21, lot 873 ; Mk IIc : hydrangea vase, ca. 1905-1908, Plaisance Baron 2012-04-13 lot 27 ;

    Mark III : German Eagle entwined in Lorraine thistles, 1915, Musée Lorrain, Nancy ; Mk IIIa : Reims cathedral vase, 1915, Musée des beaux-arts de Reims ; Mk IIIb : stencil papers for the eukalyptus series, ca. 1905-1908, Archives Rouppert Y103, private collection ;

    Mark IV : Poppy soliflore vase labelled 94937, ca. 1920-09, Enchères Duval, 2017 ;

    Mark V : Dragon vase, ca. 1919-1923, Kitazawa Museum of Art, M10131 ;

    Mark VI : Plum relief vase, ca. 1925-1936, Hentrich Glasmuseum Düsseldorf, mkp. P 1970-261 ;

    Mark VII : Elephants relief vase, ca. 1927-1936, Kitazawa Museum, Inv 14436 GC-31 ;

    Mark VIII : Table lamp from the Gerda Kœpff collection, ca. 1928-1936, Hentrich Glasmuseum Düsseldorf mkp. LP 2009-63 ;

    Mark IX : Polar bears vase, ca. 1928-1936, Hentrich Glasmuseum Düsseldorf mkp. P 1977-25 ;

    Mark X : Lotus cup, ca. 1924-1930, Hentrich Glasmuseum Düsseldorf mkp. P 1970-242. 

  12. Le Tacon 1998, p. 191 ; 1993, p. 212 fig. 4 for a picture of the original signature. No source nor location is given, unfortunately. ↩︎

  13. It’s worth noting that while René Dézavelle gave a written testimony to the Glasfax Newsletter, the precise chronology of the Gallé with star signature came as an oral answer during a presentation he made at the invitation of the editors. Madeleine Thomson [editor’s note], Glasfax Newsletter, t. 8, n° 6, septembre 1974, p. 97. ↩︎

  14. Provost 2017, p. 352 sq. ↩︎

  15. Françoise-Thérèse Charpentier, « Gallé après Gallé », Arts Nouveaux, t. 10, 1994, p. 14–24, part. p. 19. ↩︎

  16. For a blank and undated fac-similé of the letter, see Provost 2017, fig. 8, p. 354. I have not been able to independently confirm this 1906 date so far. ↩︎

  17. Provost 2017, p. 356. These letters are unfortunately known only from excerpts copied by Françoise-Thérèse Charpentier in the late 1960s while studying Albert Daigueperce’s archives. ↩︎

  18. Private collection. See Provost 2017, p. 358. ↩︎

  19. “A la suite de différentes lettres de clients qui prétendent que tout ce qui porte l’étoile n’est plus du Gallé, Mme Gallé vient de décider qu’à l’avenir elle serait supprimée et la signature serait faite ainsi Gallé. 35 Je sais de bonne part que la concurrence a joliment profité de cette étoile pour en faire une bonne campagne et que son but a porté ses fruits ; c’est donc chose décidée et si certains de vos clients vous en font l’observation, vous savez quoi leur répondre. Du reste Mme Gallé a aussi décidé de faire tous les deux à trois ans un changement si petit qu’il soit à sa signature pour dépister la concurrence.“ Letter from Émile Lang to Albert Daigueperce, 1st May 1908, private collection. ↩︎

  20. Of course, nowadays, with the general progress made on the knowledge of these series, this action would have more often the opposite effect, by making the object appear more recent and not older as intended. ↩︎

  21. Lettre from Henriette Gallé to Albert Daigueperce, 12 May 1908 : “Il serait si facile pour qui s’en donnerait la peine de faire disparaître l’étoile, mais on ne fera jamais d’un vase hortensia une pièce rare.” See Provost 2017, p. 357. ↩︎

  22. Provost 2017, p. 357. ↩︎

  23. Here, there is an arrow pointing to a Gallé signature sketch on the next line. ↩︎

  24. The name is written, or draught, as a signature, with a double underscore and an oversize initial G whose head extents to the right over the whole name. ↩︎

  25. I have only found one specimen so far of this signature, on a nenuphar vase whose decor and shape are consistent with the Mk III period : Quittenbaum 132B 366, 2017-05-24. ↩︎

  26. Hartmann 1997, signatures nos 3617, 3623, 3624, with a 1902-1904 datation ; Le Tacon 1998, pl. 5 p. 196 with a 1894-1904 datation ; Ollande 2016, table 8 p. 144, with the same chronology. ↩︎

  27. This is an unusual vase but it would tend to support the chronology put forward by Hartmann for this particular signature. ↩︎

  28. The description of crossed or barred LLs evoke also the so called Pi signature from ca. 1920-1924 : could it be an interpolation ? ↩︎

  29. For the Établissements Gallé during the conflict, see Provost S. 2018, “Une cristallerie d’art sous la menace du feu : les Établissements Gallé de 1914 à 1919”, in Thomas C. et Palaude S. (dir.), Composer avec l’ennemi en 14-18. La poursuite de l’activité industrielle en zones de guerre. Actes du colloque européen, Charleroi, 26-27 octobre 2017, Bruxelles, Académie royale de Belgique, p. 105‑118 [open access link]. ↩︎

  30. This is however not an entirely new one since It was recorded by Carolus Hartmann : see Hartmann 1986, nos 3669, 3670, 3672. But Hartmann thought also that all production had ceased during the war. ↩︎


    How to cite this article : Samuel Provost, “The Gallé signatures on glass after 1904 : a tentative chronology (part I, 1904-1920)”, Newsletter on Art Nouveau Craftwork & Industry, no 4, 28 December 2020 [link].

    Subscribe now