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Gallé decorates a Pommery barrel

A celebration of the friendship between Champagne and America by Master woodworker Emile Gallé.

In 1903, master woodworker Emile Gallé was commissioned to decorate the Grand Foudre Pommery: an immense wine barrel with a capacity of 75,000hl (equivalent to 100,000 bottles). The barrel remained in use until 1973, paying homage to the bonds of friendship between the two sides of the Atlantic.

France is represented as a woman seen from the back, standing in the vines, offering a glass of Pommery Champagne to her transatlantic cousin. America is meanwhile depicted as an exotic creature with luxuriant hair, astride a sort of sphinx with the head of a Native American, symbol of the young America. Above, a third female figure, dressed in flowing robes and seated on a curule chair, suggests a pensive genie of enterprise, flanked on the left by the Statue of "Liberty Enlightening the World" in the port of New York. Below, under a sky of vines loaded with grapes, we see a view of the town of Rheims dominated by its famous cathedral.

The gigantic Pommery barrel was transported by ocean liner to the New World, where it starred in the St Louis World’s Fair. It now stands in splendour in the visitor reception hall of Champagne Pommery, displaying the signatures of the artist and his collaborators for all to see.