Antonin Daum


When the Daum Frères company resumed production after the First World War under the direction of Antonin Daum, the metal frames for bowls and glass shades were initially made by Edgar Brandt in Paris. At the same time, the previous collaboration with Majorelle in Nancy was continued. Majorelle delivered the finished metal frames to Daum, into which the glass could then be blown directly. This is how the characteristic ‘enclosed’ glass shades and vases were created.

In contrast to many other large glass manufacturers at the turn of the century, which were unable to cope with the economic difficulties of the first post-war years, Antonin Daum was able to continue running his company without losses by personally supervising production. He continued to produce Art Nouveau glass, but also responded to the new stylistic trends of the 1920s. In 1925 he took his two nephews, Paul and Henri Daum, as well as his son-in-law Pierre Froissart into the company. It was only with the global economic crisis in 1929 that the existence of Daum Frères was called into question. Of course, this also affected other branches of industry, but in France primarily the glass factories. In Nancy alone, the Delatte works, the Dusquesne works and the Crystallleries had to close. Daum’s art glass production had to be drastically limited at this time. An attempt was made to compensate for this by producing table services.

After Antonin Daum’s death, Paul Daum became director of the company in 1930. In the following five years it was extremely difficult to maintain the factory. In 1935, the company received a large order from the transatlantic shipping company to produce 70,000 table settings made of crystal glass for the new ocean liner Normandy, which gave it a new lease of life. When the Germans occupied Nancy in 1939, the factory was closed. Paul Daum died as a Resistance fighter in 1943. In 1946 work was resumed under the direction of Henri and Michel Daum; Jacques Daum later took over the company. It is located in the east of Nancy and now has its own shop on Place Stanislas.

The lampshades for chandeliers and table lamps that were produced by Daum in the 1920s differ fundamentally in technology and design from production at the turn of the century. The Art Nouveau lover will search in vain for his beloved flower and insect motifs. The imitation of nature had been replaced by simple shapes, some with geometric and some with stylized motifs. The shimmering sheen of color had given way to sober, transparent glass. If the old method of acid etching was still used, it was only to achieve monochromatic contrasts in the glass surface. If any colors were used at all, they were in a pale palette of ice gray, emerald green or even brownish tones. These colors created a subtle color effect when contrasted with the etched white glass areas. On the other hand, objects were still produced in the 1920s using the so-called ‘sandwich technique’, in which colored powder or gold leaf splinters were scattered between two layers of glass. When the light then falls through the differently colored layers, a lively structured effect is created. The company took part in the Paris exhibitions only in 1921, 1925, 1926 and 1932.

Source: Alastair Duncan, Lampen Lüster Leuchter, Jugendstil Art Déco, Prestel-Verlag, München 1979, p.165-166

Art Nouveau glass vase with a kingfisher
Opening hours:
  • Monday
  • Tuesday - Friday
    12 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Saturday
    10 a.m. - 4 p.m.