In January 1899, the celebrated glassmaker Emile Gallé was immersed in preparations for the 1900 world’s fair in Paris. There, he planned to present his glass in five locations, one of which was a display inspired by a Symbolist fairy tale. For this display, he called on his childhood friend, the painter Victor Prouvé, to help him design a vase that would expose “fanaticism, hatred, lies, prejudice, and hypocrisy.” Like the fairy tale, the display had a double meaning. It presented decorated glass vessels with a controversial political message, for those who cared to see it. Prouvé’s design shows dark, monstrous creatures, rising from the depths of the earth, which illustrate the evils of false accusation and anti-Semitism. One is a crone-faced, bat-winged creature with a tail made of snakes. On the back of the vase, a wavy-haired youth, representing truth, looks out with a hurt expression. The play of darkness and light in glass was often used by Gallé to symbolize humanity’s struggle between good and evil. Visitors to the Paris world’s fair, who were aware of current events, would have known that the decoration on this vase— and on several others presented by Gallé—referred to the Dreyfus Affair, one of the most divisive scandals in modern French history. This political, judicial, and social scandal, which surrounded a French Jewish military officer named Alfred Dreyfus (1859–1935), involved a wrongful conviction of treason and a subsequent cover-up that divided French society for over a decade. Gallé never wavered in his support for Dreyfus, which caused him trouble in his conservative hometown of Nancy. Signed “Gallé 1900” and “V. Prouvé.” The vase was kept by Gallé for his personal collection, and it was last owned by the family of Jean Bourgogne (1903–1999), Gallé’s only grandson. A second, unfinished version of Les Hommes noirs is preserved in the Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy, Nancy, France (inv. no. JC15). Inscribed, on rim, “Hommes noirs, d’où sortez vous?” (Dark men, where do you come from?), and, on body, “Nous sortons de dessous terre” (We come from beneath the earth), and “Béranger” for Pierre-Jean de Béranger (French, 1780–1857), whose well-known political chanson of 1819 was the source of the quotation. The reference to “dark men” here alludes to the black robes worn by French lawyers and judges. Published in Dominique Jarrassé and Mohammad Handjani, “Les Hommes noirs, un vase parlant d’Emile Gallé et Victor Prouvé,” Le Pays Lorrain, v. 91, March 2011, pp. 21–29; François Parmentier, “Gallé le Dreyfusard,” Arts Nouveaux, Association des Amis du Musée de l’Ecole de Nancy (AAMEN), no. 22, September 2006, pp. 24–29; and Philippe Thiébaut, Emile Gallé: Le Magicien du verre, Paris: Gallimard, 2004, pp. 56–57.