Hunebelle Glass

Hunebelle bowl
Above: Hunebelle bowl with opalescent, clear and frosted segments

Author: Joanne Smith. Editor: Angela Bowey

Andre Hunebelle was born in Paris in 1896. He studied Mathematics at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, but these studies were interrupted by his involvement in the First World War. After the war, Hunebelle began designing pressed glass inspired by the work of Rene Lalique. He was friendly with Lalique's son .

A Unique Style

In 1927 Hunebelle exhibited his first collection of glass, which rapidly became fashionable and brought him popular acclaim. Although similar to Lalique's glass in many respects, Hunebelle's work maintained a unique identity and style. He was influenced greatly by his love of Mathematics and the prevailing fashion for what we now call Art Deco. The decoration of his designs was often very stylised or abstract and frequently used contrasting planes of glossy and frosted glass.

Hunebelle vase
Above: Hunebelle vase

Andre Hunebelle created a range of vases, bowls, plates, ornaments and lamps and opened a luxury shop in Paris. (the address of which is variously quoted as being at the rue de la Boetie, Avenue Victor Emmanuel-III and the Champs Elysees) Etienne Franckhauser who also made moulds for Lalique and Sabino made the moulds for Hunebelle's glass.

Hunebelle chrysanthemum bowl,
Above: bowl shown in Hunebelle catalogue as "Chrysanthemum"

Much of his work, particularly in the earlier years, was in colourless glass, although he increasingly used coloured glass for his designs and is well known for his opalescent glass.

He invented a style of port decanter which became very popular and was copied in several countries (with the handle at the top and pouring spout at a 45 degree angle on the side).


Hunebelle signature
Above: Hunebelle signature

Hunebelle pieces were marked in several ways. The most common was A.HUNEBELLE-FRANCE in moulded capitals either within the glass design or on the base. Other pieces are marked simply " A.HUNEBELLE". There was also a paper label with an A and H superimposed as shown in the diagram below, and since these labels were often lost, these pieces may appear completely unmarked. In the author's collection there are pieces marked A.HUNEBELLE both with and without the word FRANCE, and a bowl marked "MADE IN FRANCE" that is identical to one shown in a Hunebelle catalogue. Hunebelle also used a more elaborate makers mark imprinted on some glass pieces which had the word "FRANCE" encircled by the words "MADE IN FRANCE MOSELLE DEP et R COGNEVILLE" and with "A. HUNEBELLE" underneath (recorded in Hartmann op.cit).

Hunebelle label
Above: Design on Hunebelle label

Film Making Career

Hunebelle abandoned glass design for work as a newspaper administrator and the shop closed in 1938. After the Second World War he became a successful film producer and director, making many films and winning the Prix du Meill twice. Andre Hunebelle died in 1985.

Hunebelle vase top view
Above: Top view of Hunebelle vase, showing clear and frosted effects.

Sources and References:

The Design Encyclopedia by Mel Byars. Laurence King Publishing,1994
The Decorative Twenties by Martin Battersby.Whitney Library of Design, 1988.
Art Nouveau to Art Deco:The Art of Glass by Victor Arwas. Papadakis,1996
A Guide to Affordable Antiques and Collectables in Australia by John Batterbee and Roy Williams. Thomas C. Lothian Pty Ltd.1994
Glasmarken Lexikon 1600-1945 by Carolus Hartmann, 1999
Glass: Art Nouveau to Art Deco by Victor Arwas, Academy Publications, 1987
"Opalescence: le verre moule des annees 1920-1930" Exposition du Bank Bruxelles-Lambert, Bruxelles 1986.

If you are looking for glass by Hunebelle, you can sometimes find items on offer on ebay. Click Hunebelle Glass

Further Reading:

If you have enjoyed this article, you will probably enjoy the following books. Click on the book title to read more:

beige hunebelle vase
Above: Coloured Hunebelle vase

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