French art glass of the
second half of the 19th - early 20th centuries
Throughout the long history of art s and crafts, its ambassadors traditionally remained anonymous, which is not the case with the French glassmakers of the late 19th century, who gained worldwide popularity and recognition.
Due to William Morris, the idea of using the ingenious author's design for industrial production was introduced into European perception. This concept was successful and led to rapid development in the sphere of decorative arts and manufacturing.
In 1881, on the initiative of the Minister of Fine Arts, Antonin Proust, a report on the status of crafts in France was prepared, which made it obvious that French industrialists were buying models in England. From that moment on, the development of arts and crafts acquired the status of the national target of increase the production volume and quality and creation of the national style. Thus craftsmanship schools appeared in Bourges and Nice, the Musée des arts décoratifs de Paris and the Union centrale des arts décoratifs were established.
In the 19th century the glassmaking process organization was predominantly industrial, but in the second half of the century manufacturing began proactively cooperate with artists, acquiring their sketches and considering their experiments with the material. The practice of blanks’ "final adjustment” in an artist's atelier developed; and by the 1880s a new operation form appeared -- studio glass art. The perception of the products changed - glass began to be treated as art material, and a person working with it was reputed as an artist.
The prominent glass artist Émile Gallé matured and glowed, the Daum Freres manufactory emerged and the famous L'École de Nancy was established in this dynamic creative environment. Continuous experiments, daring and exceptional solutions were adjoining careful study of past centuries art, rethinking technology and artistic traditions. Philippe-Joseph Brocard, François-Emile Décorchemont, Gabriel Argy-Rousseauu and other artisans shaped the phenomenon of French glass author’s work of the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries.