Skip to Content
Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

French, 1846 - 1904
Water Lily Vase

10 x 5 9/16 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of J. Brian and Varina Eby

Arts of Europe

Nineteenth-century glassmaker Emile Gallé was famous for his dramatic, sometimes disturbing, evocations of nature. He carved the glass in Water Lily Vase to resemble blood-red water lilies floating on cool green water.

An artist of remarkable technical skill and inventiveness, Gallé inherited and expanded his father's ceramics and glass business, becoming the leading maker of Art Nouveau glass in France by the end of the 19th century. Gallé explored widely ranging techniques that included historical methods such as cameo cutting, acid etching, engraving, enameling, and mold blowing, as well as novel experiments with powdered colors, metallic foils, and inlay. To create Water Lily Vase, Gallé manipulated layers of glass. An inner, pale green underlayer was encased in red glass that was then carved away in a cameo technique to reveal the green underneath.