A primer on Gallé blownout vases

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Gorgeous Gallé Water Lily blownout vase

Gorgeous Gallé Water Lily blownout vase

It is believed that the firm of Emile Gallé did not start to produce blownout vases until after WWI, which was also after Gallé’s death in 1904. If that’s true, then Gallé himself never saw some of the most interesting and valuable vases the firm produced. These vases are referred to as blownout, or mold-blown, or soufflé. The terms are interchangeable.

Monumental Gallé Calla Lily blownout vase

Monumental Gallé Calla Lily blownout vase

The technique in producing these vases was similar to standard acid-etched vases, but with one major difference — first the glass was blown into a mold using compressed air. Then the design was cut into the vase using hydrofluoric acid. My rough estimation is that there are approximately 50 different models of Gallé blownout vases.

Gallé purple Fuchsia blownout vase

Gallé purple Fuchsia blownout vase

Gallé pink Fuchsia blownout vase

Gallé pink Fuchsia blownout vase

The same model may vary in color, but not in size or shape, since the molds were defined. This is very similar to R. Lalique vases, which were also produced in molds.

Gallé white and standard Elephant vases

Gallé white and standard Elephant vases

To the best of my knowledge, no one has ever built a collection of every known example of Gallé blownout vases. That would be a very interesting (and expensive) collection. Today’s prices range from under $10,000 to over $200,000. The most valuable would be a white elephant.

Reproduction Gallé Elephant vase

Reproduction Gallé Elephant vase

Comical reproductions exist, but are easily identifiable after learning the real examples.


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