#6993 $3,950 Sold
Gallenga hand-stenciled tea gown, c.1920
The signature Gallenga style! Maria Monaci Gallenga achieved instantaneous celebrity after wearing one of her medieval-style tea gowns to a New York theatre opening in 1916. Even without her design genius, you can create a fashion sensation if you attend an art gallery opening in this magnificent creation.
While Gallenga's gowns varied slightly in the shape of neckline or sleeve, she remained true to her proprietary technique for stenciling on silk velvet. She used up to nine tones of silver and gold paint to achieve the ombré shadings evocative of antique fabrics. In the subtle pattern (inspired by Gothic ironwork), birds, hounds, and floral motifs frolic inside pointed ovals.
Made from pumpkin colored silk velvet, the gown has dramatic long pointed sleeves and a square- shaped back train. The loose fitting style is comfortable and easy to wear.
The sleeves, lined in matching silk, join the body of the gown at the armholes with tubular Venetian glass beads. Mille fiore Venetian beads decorate the points of the sleeves. The train has been relined with matching silk. As my clients know, I generally do everything that can be done to present fine vintage clothing in its highest and best condition; or else I adjust the price accordingly.
This is my first Gallenga tea gown, a style whose importance in fashion history has been documented by Valerie Steele. The term encompassed a wide range of styles: the silk peignoir for the boudoir; the fine robe d'intérieur of cotton batiste for private entertaining; all the way up to elegant gowns (from Gallenga and Fortuny) meant to be worn in public.
Documentation: the coat is signed Maria Monaci Gallenga on the hem of the train. As is usual with Gallenga, the stenciled signature is barely legible. This magnificent creation is every bit the equal of Fortuny's creations, which regularly sell for about $10,000.
The textile art of Maria Monaci Gallenga is often compared to that of Mariano Fortuny because they both produced hand-stenciled designs that drew inspiration from the distant past. Gallenga became the mentor of the Italian Futurists. In 1925 she exhibited in the Italian Pavilion at the Art Deco Exposition, winning the Grand Prix for stenciled textiles. This is all the more remarkable because Fortuny was then the most prominent Italian designer.
The condition is almost excellent. The structurally sound gown shows the minor color change that enhances antique beauty. I cherish an aged patina in a 90-year-old collectible, whether from Gallenga or Fortuny, who spent his career trying to replicate the look of antique textiles. In our Gallenga piece, you have a lovely aged patina courtesy of Father Time. One of the mille fiore beads has been replaced.
It measures: 36"bust and waist, 44" hip, and 53" from shoulder to front hem.