French jeweler of the late 19th early 20th century Lucien Gaillard.
The main direction in his work was the appeal to Japanese art one of the important components that formed the figurative principles of Art Nouveau iconography.
The impact of Japanese culture on Gaillard jewelry, especially woodblock prints of flowers and birds by Japanese artists Hayashi Motoharu and Katsushika Hokusai, is revealed when they are compared.
Biography of Lucien Gaillard
The biography of Lucien Gaillard, collected from rare sources, gives a picture of his creative and life path: from an apprentice to a recognized master of the national jewelry school. In 1892 Ernst Gaillard transferred the management of the jewelry workshop to his son Lucien. Thus, Lucien Gaillard became the next representative of the jewelry dynasty, which, however, was not a great rarity in the 19th century, as evidenced by the history of many French jewelry houses, quite famous.
Since 1878, Lucien Gaillard studied jewelry and, having mastered the secrets of the craft, surpassed his father and grandfather. He also studied complex technological processes, primarily gold and silver techniques chasing, engraving. In addition, Gaillard attended a variety of jewelery courses. At least the names of two masters who taught Gaillard are known they are Dujardin and Salmon.
At the beginning of his brilliant career, he excelled in the study of metals and their patination, was especially interested in the secrets of ancient Japanese alloys and varnishes, which were practically not used in France before him. Gaillard understood that the Japanese were inimitable in the use of color effects, in the coloristic processing of metal products, in the use of etching.
The art critic and researcher of the work of the master Helene Andre, thanks to whom rare details of Gaillard’s life are known today, wrote about him: “His knowledge of metals and alloys is amazing. He knows the chemical nature of the substance he is using. He masters the art of patina, working long and delicately, delimiting it at his discretion into textures and colors. Thanks to the patina, Gaillard manages to give his vases and their frames a special shine. All patinas penetrated deep into the material, giving rise to a varied and durable color.
Member of the Association of Jewelers of Paris
In 1890, the young master became a member of the Paris Jewelers Association (Chambre Syndicale des Bijoutiers, Joailliers et Orfèvres de Paris).
There he presented his reports on metal alloys and patination techniques. Three years later, he was elected President of the Technical Chamber for his successful research and practical application of patinas.
At the same time, he himself already runs the family business and for about four years (until 1897) has been producing lamps, vases, toiletry cases and other toiletry items in the style of Louis XV and Louis XVI, which, however, was in good demand and was the key to the company’s success and ensured fame to the master himself. Retreat from traditional forms originates in the work of Gaillard in 1897.
At the Brussels Exhibition he presents a number of Art Nouveau pieces with the same patina technique.
The milestone year in the life and career of Lucien Gaillard is 1900 First, from 1900 to 1901, he published his scientific explanations on the practical application of patinas and new techniques in the Revue de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie. Masters in some European countries, for example, in England, Belgium, Germany, became interested in these publications.
Secondly, he acquired a new four-story building near the Champs Elysees at 107 Rue Boeti, and moved into it, installing the latest equipment there. Eighty people worked here under his supervision.
Thirdly, Gaillard invited Japanese craftsmen to his firm metal specialists who knew the secrets of ancient alloys, engravers, jewelers, varnishers.
The Japanese helped him to understand the intricacies and specifics of national art. Finally, he took part in the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris.
Here the master presented jewelry and silver vases, which made a great impression on the audience with their subtle, subtle, “enticing” patina tint. He received a high expert assessment and the Grand Prix from an authoritative jury and became one of the leaders of the French jewelry art, such as Vevey, Fouquet, Boucheron.
But, more importantly, Gaillard took the same path with his inspirer and friend, the jeweler Rene Lalique.