Signed by the renowned Cubist painter Georges Braque, this glass panel is an interpretation of the artist’s painting L’Aquarium au verre (The glass aquarium), made in 1944.
The technique used to make this illuminated painting is called gemmail, or “enamel gem.” The term gemmail (plural gemmaux) was coined by the French painter Jean Crotti (1878–1958) to describe a technique for layering and adhering pieces of colored glass to create painterly compositions that come alive when illuminated from behind.
After the glass was assembled, the panel was immersed in an enamel-type solution and then heated inside a kiln to fuse the glass. When it had cooled, the glass panel was mounted on a light box.
In 1938, Crotti asked the artist Roger Malherbe-Navarre to assist with perfecting the adhesives and light boxes used in gemmail. By 1955, Malherbe-Navarre had set up a studio in Paris, and he had purchased the gemmail patent and its associated rights.