Gérard Jean Galle

Dates1788 - 1846

Although he won several awards for his cast and gilded bronze works, Gérard-Jean Galle never prospered. Born into a family of casters and gilders, he probably received his training in the workshop of his father, Claude Galle, also a bronze caster, who produced objects for Marie-Antoinette.

Upon the death of his father in 1815, Galle took over the family workshop. During this period of political upheaval in France, money was in short supply and few of the wealthy were willing to spend money on luxury products such as gilt bronze. In 1819 Galle entered some of his designs in the Paris Exposition des Produits de L'Industrie Française (Exhibition of French Products of Industry) and won a silver medal. Despite this recognition of his talents, he was still unable to sell his works. He therefore made a desperate plea to the newly restored monarchy. In a letter to the court, Galle explained that his goods were "the cause of the ruin of my workshop and my family" and offered them to the king for a sum that would be "modest for the government." His offer was refused, but several years later, Galle was given the title fournisseur de sa majesté (Supplier to the King).

The Revolution of 1830 worsened the economic situation again, and Galle again suffered. He was forced to halve the size of his workshop and died in poverty in 1846.