After several apprenticeships in various European cities, Weimar and Meisenthal amongst others, Emile Gallé became a partner at his father’s glass and faience decoration business in 1867. Ten years later, he took over the family business and extended its activities to cabinet making in 1885. Previously acknowledged at the Clay and Glass Exposition in 1884, Emile Gallé was honored at the 1889 Paris World Fair with three rewards for his ceramics, glasswork, and furniture. Unfortunately, and to the great regret of Emile Gallé, ceramic work was no longer popular amongst the public, thus he oriented his focus to glasswork, a domain in which he developed and created new fabrication procedures. His research lead to the registration of two patents in 1898, one of which concerned the glass marquetry and the other on glass finish.
His work expresses throughout multiple references his diverse interests, in which nature plays a dominant, but not exlusive, role. His patriotic and political commitments were best expressed at the Paris World Fairs of 1889 and 1900 in such pieces as The Rhine Table (which calls for the return of Alsace-Lorraine to France) and the spectacular installation of The seven pitchers Marjolaine (for the rehabilitation of Dreyfus). Involved early on in the renewal of decorative arts, Emile Gallé distributed in his French, German and English warehouses quality work throughout Europe.
In 1901, he was the founder and the first president of the Ecole de Nancy, the Alliance Provinciale des Industries d’Art.