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TOP > TERRADA MAGAZINE > ART > Emile Gallé: Collecting Nature



Emile Gallé: Collecting Nature

Glass inspired by the seas and forests


French glass artist Emile Gallé was captivated by Japanese aesthetics. He remains very popular in Japan, with many of his works kept in the collections of Japanese museums. Now a special exhibition will gather about 130 of his pieces from the Kitazawa, Suntory, and POLA museums of art, among others.

0309_2Gallé’s scientific curiosity led him to come up with clever designs using living things in various forms. Inspired by the contemporary interest in deep sea ecology led by Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, he decorated beautiful glassware with sea creatures such as jellyfish, shellfish, and starfish, which at first glance could look grotesque. He also hired a gardener for his home and endeavored in research there with some 3,000 species of plants he had collected. The results of this study appear in his works as flowers in full bloom and leaves of various colors. Dragonflies, grasshoppers, beetles and other insects also make adorable appearances.

Over the door to Gallé’s workshop hung the quote, “My roots are in the depth of the woods.” He wholeheartedly respected the many shapes that nature produced and turned to them as a source of inspiration. He was also said to have been “born Japanese in Nancy,” and he shared with Japan a common sensibility in his reverence for the changes in the four seasons. Experience the wonders of Gallé in a museum set in the forest of Hakone.

(Text: Naoko Aono)

Emile Gallé: Collecting Nature
Dates: March 17 (Sat) – July 16 (Mon), 2018
Venue: POLA Museum of Art 1285 Kozukayama, Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Times: 9:00 – 17:00 (entrance closes 30 minutes before closing time) Open every day during exhibition period
Admission: 1,800 yen (general), other rates
Contact: 0460-84-2111

Pitcher “La Forêt guyanaise,” ca. 1903, private collection
Vase with Chrysanthemum Design, ca. 1900, POLA Museum of Art


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