A very rare pair of silver-gilt and glass table lamps. The silver-gilt base by Lucien Falize, formed of three conch shells with sweeping sides and crests in the centres. Rising from each are nine silver-gilt stems, supporting coloured glass lights, formed as tulips made by Emile Gallé.
Paris, date circa 1895
Height 50 cm each.
This extraordinarily beautiful pair of table lamps can be compared of a number of clocks in this collection, since they were the combined creation of two of the world's great masters – Lucien Falize (1839 – 97), who designed ad worked the silver-gilt and Emile Gallé (1846 – 1904), who created the glass shades. The two began working together during the mid 1890's. In 1896 they caused a sensation at the Salon des Artistes Française, Paris, when they exhibited over 30 jointly made objects. This work was probably one of those exhibited pieces. In the same year Czar Nicholas II and his wife visited Paris; the City presented them with two urn shaped glass vases with elaborate silver mounts made by Gallé and Falize. This was an extremely prestigious commission which would only have been offered to men of Gallé and Falize's calibre, who were both leaders in their own artistic field.
Both Gallé and Falize were men of genious, who had trained under their respective fathers and then rose independantly to fame. Hey were each awarded numerous honours, including the Legion d'Honneur and also received commissions from royalty and important patrons world wide. They also shared a similar approach to their art, choosing nature as their prime inspiration. Their fascination with flowers, plant and shell life made them significant precursors of the Art Nouveau movement. Though each also owed much to past styles, in particular the naturalistic motifs of Rococo art.
Here the old and new are combined in perfect harmony. The bases are predominantly of Art Nouveau shape, but are decorated with more Rococo ornament, while the life like tulips growing from each conch could only belong to the modern movement.
Gallé – probably the world's greatest glassmaker, has here created the exact effect of petals overlapping; he also depicts the darker veins showing through the light as well as the multi-shading of the different colours. The contrast of colours and shapes above creates a staggering effect, one which makes this lamp a true masterpiece.