THE three French masters of Art Nouveau and Art Deco glass were Rene Lalique (1860-1945), Emile Galle (1846-1904) and the brothers Antonin (1864-1930) and Auguste Daum (1853-1909).
Thirty of their masterpieces are exhibited through the end of this month at Liuli China Museum. The show is titled "Glass from a Distant Land - The Work of Three French Houses."
Galle, Lalique and Daum are renowned worldwide as the most influential representatives of glass art in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Born in 1846, Galle was a master of Art Nouveau and its themes from nature. Art was his canvas for intricate carvings and layers of color depicting butterflies, flowers, grass, trees and other subjects. He was awarded a gold medal at the 1889 Paris Exhibition.
Rene Lalique, born in 1860, created the world's first perfume bottle in 1908 and is sometimes called the Father of the Perfume Bottle.
Early in 1929, he designed the crystal carvings on the corridor and banquet hall for the Peace Hotel in Shanghai, today the Fairmont Peace Hotel. It is said that this work today is worth half the hotel itself. Lalique, previously a jewelry designer, focused on small details, capturing fine lines and colors on glass.
Jean Antonin Daum, born in 1864, rediscovered the ancient Egyptian technique of pate-de-verre in glass and crystal-making.
A separate exhibition in Levant Art gallery features glass art from the Czech and Slovak republics titled "iGlass 2012 - Czech Glass Sculptures." Curated by Bert van Loo, a famous Dutch artist working with glass, the exhibition features 21 glass sculptures created by eight glass artists from the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.
Glass of geometric shapes
Compared with Italian and French glass, Czech glass art features more geometric and abstract shapes. For generations glass masters in those countries explored the physical properties of glass.
Pavel Trnka's works are among the most difficult kinds of glass sculpture to create, involving the complex use of colors within geometrical shapes with the highest levels of craftsmanship.
For example, he creates one round piece comprised of three parts with almost undetectable fissures. The light and colors within the piece seem to shift as the visitor moves around in a work that is both simple and complex.