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And God said: Let there be light! - Francois Decorchemont

Francois-Emile Decorchemont
French, 1880-1997

Francois Decorchemont, originally an accomplished painter and potter of recognized ability, turned to the making of glass in 1904. Pate de verre was the medium in which he excelled and for which he is best known.

After studying decorative art in Paris, Francois Decorchemont returned to his native Conches in 1910 to develop new techniques in stained glass, particularly in the use of crystal to give multi-colored and faceted panes.

 After 1909, while continuing to produce fine glass paste pieces, Francois Decorchemont began to experiment with a new casting technique. Francois Decorchemont, Emile's son and also an artist, helped out in his father’s studio, in particular helping him to research the possibilities of creating jeweled adornments in pates d'email (enamel pastes) for Gerome's polychrome sculptural creations. Francois Decorchemont, a potter and painter at the outset of his career, became fascinated with the idea of developing and utilizing a thin translucent glass material in his work. It was in essence the revival and an adaptation of a long forgotten Egyptian glass-making process using colored crystal powdered glass, metallic oxides and an adhesive paste.

This "new" material, known as pate de verre was developed around the turn of the century, principally at the Sevres porcelain factory, by a number of artists working there, notably Henri Cros and Albert Dammouse.

The end of the 19th century was an illuminated period in the history of art. Impressionist painting appeared and created an interest in glass as material. Traditional sculpting materials such as bronze and marble made way for glass with its possibilities of light and color. Henry Cros and Francois Decorchemont became the leaders of French Pate-de-verre and facilitated the proliferation of this colorful glass.

His first major work, in 1934, was inn the Eglise Sainte-Odile near Porte Champerret in Paris, some 300 square meters of brilliant colors.

After the war, he devoted his work to churches in the Eure, including of course Beuzeville where, thanks to the generosity of the local council, the church is lit at night so that his work can be admired from outside.

During the first half of the 20th century a number of French artists became famous for their work in pate de verre, and Francois Decorchemont among them.

March 2014, 20th Century’s Greatest Art Dealer
Felix Marcilhac’s Collection Privee at Sotheby’s - Chang Yi Entrusts Antoine Leperlier in the Bidding of a Francois Decorchemon's Original. It has been reported that Felix Marcilhac’s Collection Privee auction at Sotheby’s brought in 33,125 Euros (28,000 RMB), three times the estimated price.

Marcilhac is considered the greatest art deco dealer of the 20th century with clients including Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Berge, Andy Warhol and Alain Delon. His collection contained undisputed masterpieces. 

Back to Why Glass? - Redefine Glass Art: The Must Know 12 Glass Artists

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Artist/Founder Loretta H. Yang leads a team of experienced artisans to create arts that honor the richness of cultural heritage and value.

Step No. 1: Design and sculpting

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Step 2 of the process involves coating our original clay sculpture in silicone. Layer after layer (3 to 7 layers) is fastidiously coated to produce a negative mold, a crucial step in capturing the prevision of the sculpture. Each layer must dry completely before additional layer is applied, thickness must be uniform to prevent leakage of wax. Once complete, the clay is removed to reveal a negative silicone mold.

Step No. 2: Silicone molding

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Pour molten wax into the negative silicone mold.

Step No. 3: Infusion of molten wax. Fill wax into a negative mold.

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Once wax has solidified and cooled, release the wax form by carefully peeling back the silicone mold. Like a butterfly molting, the silicon is shed to reveal a positive wax form.

Step No. 4: Shedding of silicon mold to obtain the wax form

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A careful refinement of the wax sculpture. Because every microinch and subtlety plays its own role in the grand scheme of beauty. Our artists refine the wax mold to its final perfection.

Step No. 5: Wax form refinement; removing imperfections

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The wax mold is placed on a wooden plank in a metal container and plaster is poured and solidified. Embedding wax form with fire-resistant plaster.

Step No. 6: Coating the wax sculpture with plaster to form a refractory mold

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Wax is steamed out of the plaster under high heat yielding a negative plaster mold.

Step No. 7: Removal of wax with steam—the essence of the “lost-wax” process

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Liuli ingredients are created through unique firing and processing of glass. Color and size appropriate pieces are placed within the plaster and fired.

Step No 8: Choosing color; kiln firing

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Fire and melt. Under intense heat, a new vision of transparency and clarity is born.

Step No. 9: Re-firing at 1,400 degrees Celsius

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Extreme patience and care are necessary when removing the plaster to prevent damage.

Step No. 10: Removal of plaster mold

When the art pieces emerge, our masters step in to carefully chip away the plaster mold. Like excavating fragile archaeological relics, one false move and you're left with broken shards.

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First comes die-cutting - smoothing the crystal down to the last microinch. Rough polish, removal of excess support, refinement and fine surface polish with a high-speed fabric wheel.

Step No. 11: Retouching of details; burnishing and polishing

Our artist refines and re-polishes each and every detail yet again.

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An etched number on the base of each piece indicates its limited edition and reminds us to never stop creating. After the engraving - an official LIULI artwork is born.

Step No.12: Final inspection; etching of serial number; packaging