Émile Gallé Faience Cat, ca. 1890
This cat has been in my family probably since the early '50s. And my grandmother, since my childhood, has always said that it would be mine because I loved it as a little kid and I drew pictures of it. So when my grandmother passed away recently, the cat was left to me.
Well, let me tell you a little about your cat. I'm going to turn him over, and we can see the name of the maker, E. Gallé, which is for… Émile Gallé. Now, …Émile Gallé is known as one of the founders of the French art nouveau movement, and he's mostly known as a maker of glass. But he also made furniture, and he grew up in a family of potters. And in his early career in the 1880s and 1890s, he made pottery, especially this type of pottery. You can see the white color of this glaze. It's made white by adding tin, which oxidizes and goes white over the pottery base. We call this faience, or tin-glazed earthenware. It's very traditional to the French provinces. Gallé was working in the French provinces, in Nancy, when he made this faience cat. And he made a wide range of faience, but he particularly liked these cats. And they have been reproduced more recently, so we look carefully at them to see if they're new ones or old ones. But this is an old one, and in many ways, the best way to tell if it's an old one is simply by looking at the face. Your cat has what I like to call the Cheshire Cat grin.
Yeah, it does.
And it's almost impossible to replicate that particular kind of mischievousness that Gallé put into the grin.
He does have that look.
It's also beautifully made, beautifully colored, and very characteristic of a Gallé cat, probably made in the 1890s. Today, these are quite valuable. I don't know if you've ever had an appraisal done of him, or...
No, I've tried to find out a little bit about him and I went on the internet, but I could only find out about the glass, there wasn't anything about pottery.
Well, this one today at an auction would probably bring about $2,000.
Because it's in such great condition, it may even bring $2,500 or $3,000.
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Last Tango in Halifax
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