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Émile Gallé “Bats and Iris” Table Lamp

This exquisite Galle bat lamp is crafted from three-color cameo glass, featuring a delicate lavender-hued shade adorned with a golden finial, held aloft by three bronze arms with floral finials. The base is decorated with a series of sensitively rendered Japanese Irises, swaying in the wind. Bats hold a special place in Chinese culture as a symbol of auspiciousness, carrying a rich tradition as heralds of longevity and bearers of happiness. These bats are typically depicted in groups of five, known as 'wu fu,' a clever play on words that represents the Five Blessings encompassing long life, good health, prosperity, love of virtue, and a fortunate end to one's life. Bats depicted upside down carry an additional layer of meaning, as the word 'dao' for 'upside down' sounds similar to 'arriving,' suggesting that an inverted bat symbolizes the imminent arrival of happiness. Over centuries of cultural exchange, bats became a prevalent motif in Japanese art, captivating the Art Nouveau movement. One rendition of the bat motif is found on tsuba, where bats gracefully soar over rivers adorned with irises and water lilies, illuminated by the gentle glow of crescent moons. In the 19th century, woodblock prints often portrayed the iris gardens of Horikiri, famous for supplying Edo's flower market. While the gardeners of Horikiri cultivated a variety of flowers year-round, its reputation was firmly rooted in the unique hanashōbu iris, ideally suited to the area's marshy terrain."

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: YEL-21338
Artist: Gallé
Country: France
Circa: 1900's
Dimensions: 25.5" height, 16" diameter.
Materials: Cameo Glass, Bronze
Signed: cameo signature "Gallé,"
Literature: Thièbaut, Ph., Un ensemble Art Nouveau: La donation Rispal, Musée d'Orsay 2007, Koch, Michael: Masterpieces of Art Nouveau in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich, ed. Eikelmann, Renate 2010, Arnoldsche, Inventory catalogs of the Bröhan Museum Volume VII. Glass art 1889-1939, editor: Bröhan, Margit Kanowski, Claudia - Berlin 2010. Daum Frères and Cie., Nancy page 346 ff. Schmoll towards Eisenwert, JA and Schmoll towards Eisenwert, Helga: Nancy 1900, Art Nouveau in Lorraine. Between historicism and Art Deco. Mainz am Rhein 1980., Glass of Art Nouveau, The Gerda Koepff Collection, Editor: Ricke, Helmut and Schmitt, Eva, Prestel Verlag Munich 1998, Schroeder, Udo, Drinking glasses from Art Nouveau to Art Deco Hamburg 1998, Möller, Renate: Art Nouveau. Furniture, glass, ceramics, metals, lights, jewelry, watches. German art publisher Munich Berlin 1999

The beginning of Gallé's fascination with Japanese art can be traced back to his friendship with Hokkai Takashima (1850-1931), a Japanese nobleman, fellow botanist and member of the École de Nancy. Takashima introduced Gallé to a mesmerizing world of Japanese woodblock prints and textile designs, which he frequently incorporated into his work.