Founded in 1878 by Jean Daum, Daum crystal of Nancy, France was one of the top glassmakers of the Art Nouveau period – best known for their elaborate and creative glassware. In later years, they worked with a number of prominent artists and designers, including Salvador Dali.
Daum is probably best known for reviving the ancient Egyptian technique of Pâté de Verre (“paste of glass”) – a process by which crushed glass, along with binders and coloring agents, is pressed into a mold and fired in a kiln to melt and fuse the glass, which is then annealed by slowly cooling it. Different colors of glass can be placed in the mold with great precision, and can even be layered. The result has a distinctive luster.
Daum cat figurines have been made in fine crystal and pâté de verre, in a variety of realistic and abstract styles. Some of the Daum cats were designed by Xavier Carnoy – an animal sculptor known for his simple, minimalistic shapes. Another popular designer for Daum is animal sculptor Claude Lhoste, who designed Daum’s colorful “Chat Perche” (perching cat) figurine. Limited editions by these renowned artists command high prices.
Recent sale prices range from around $50 for small crystal figurines, to over $1,000 for more elaborate and limited edition pieces.