2. Âge d’or (1850-1870)



2-GER-AVM Alexander von Minutoli assisted by Ludwig Belitski : 2-GER-AVM-Alexander-von-Minutoli

Baron Alexander von Minutoli (1806-1887) was the creator of one of the very first decorative arts museums in Europe, the first of the nineteenth century, a precursor of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and made extensive use of photography to spread taste and knowledge. In 1839, the same year that photography was invented, the Prussian ministry sent him to Liegnitz (now Legnica, Poland) to develop local crafts in a period of economic crisis… In 1853, he hired a 23-year-old young man from Liegnitz’s school of applied arts, Ludwig Belitski. Using an ingenious splash system and a 9-foot (2.74-metre) Dollond telescope, Minutoli and Belitski made up a corpus of more than 150 photographs on salted paper.



2-FRA-GLG Chacun dans son coin, Gustave Le Gray précurseur d’Irving Penn (blog)

In 1948, Irving Penn pushed together two studio flats, put on the floor a piece of old carpeting and began making “a very rich series of pictures … This confinement, surprisingly seemed to comfort people, soothing them…

About an hundred years earlier, in 1849, Gustave Le Gray, devastated by the loss of two daughters in the cholera pandemic, left the center of Paris (they died rue de Richelieu) for the green and windy neighbouring plain of Les Batignolles. There, in his atelier he began making a series of very creative portraits in simple corners or on old carpets.





2-FRA-GLG Portraits of Gustave Le Gray (Paper photographs) : 2-FRA-GLG Portraits of Gustave Le Gray

The article starts with the examination of a Le Gray Picture from Sirot collection. The salt paper print represents the portrait of a young man in a dark coat, his feet have been cropped, some foxing, wet stamp: «Gustave Le Gray». The verso shows a few pencil inscriptions «Portrait de Gustave Le Gray par Lui-même», «Catalogue Un Siècle de vision nouvelle n°2», «premier cachet de Gustave Le Gray», «Ancienne collection Sirot, A.J.».

Georges Sirot is an important name for photography collectors and Un siècle de vision nouvelle is a very early exhibition catalogue (organized by Jean Adhémar in BNF, 1955). A.J. are the initials of André Jammes. Sirot, Adhémar, Jammes, three names which are three good reasons to examine more precisely the rather modest photographic portrait.




2-FRA-OCA Olympio Clemente Aguado

2-FRA-OCA Olympio Facetious Count Aguado : 2-FRA-OCA Olympio Clemente Aguado 

Descended from a noble Spanish banking family, “Count Olympio-Clémente Aguado de las Marismas began to photograph about 1849. As one of the early practitioners who “welcome[d] the new art and who devoted to it not a little energy and money, but their fortunes and their lifetimes,” Aguado made both daguerreotypes and calotypes and may even have exhibited his paper negatives. Eventually turning to collodion-on-glass negatives, he made enlargements by projection, which was highly unusual in the 1850s. As a testament to his technical skills, Aguado once successfully printed 20,000 francs in counterfeit money for a friend’s single night of high living. In addition to making nature studies and landscapes, he also indulged in theatrical tableaux vivants involving friends and family.” (Getty Museum)



2-ITA-GOC Nettuno

2-ITA-GOC Giacomo Caneva et le cercle du Caffé Greco : 2-ITA-GOC Promenade Mediterraneenne Caneva

Epreuves de travail du catalogue de la vente de la collection retrouvée de la Duchessa della Grazia, (Mme la Duchesse de Berry en exil), avec des épreuves de Giacomo Caneva, Stefano Lecchi, Vittorio della Rovere, Frédéric Flachéron, Eugène Constant, James Anderson … Vente du mercredi 30 mai 2007 (Drouot Montaigne, Me Olivier Choppin de Janvry).





2-ITA-GOC  Giacomo Caneva and the Roman School of Photography : 2-ITA-GOC GIACOMO CANEVA 

“In 1840, Caneva moved to Rome with Giuseppe Jappelli (1783-1851), called by Prince Alessandro Torlonia for the arrangement of greenery in the southern area of Villa Torlonia in Rome… On the 14th of February 1847 he went up in a balloon with François Arban. who had come to Rome that year after making several ascents in Italy and other parts of Europe. In a letter to friends, Caneva recounts his ascent and gives a marvellous description of the panorama of Rome and the surrounding countryside.”



2-ITA-EDL Label atelier

2-ITA-EDL Edmond Lebel, traduzione italiana : 2-ITA-EDL carnet Lebel Italien 2006

“All’indomani del Natale del 1860, sette giovani artisti francesi lasciano Parigi per raggiungere Roma, capitale dello Stato Pontificio di Pio IX, Città eterna occupata o protetta dalle truppe di Napoleone III. Nel gruppo di viaggiatori figurano tre alunni dell’atelier di Léon Cogniet tra cui, per il grande orgoglio di suo padre Désiré, Edmond Lebel (1834-1908). Da quel lungo viaggio cui farà seguito un soggiorno romano di tre anni che marcherà tutta la sua esistenza, Edmond Lebel porterà con sé le immagini e le idee della sua carriera di pittore. Dalla pratica della fotografia trarrà un cen- tinaio di composizioni e di studi, ritrovati oggi con nostro grande piacere…”







Born 23 Jan 1833, photographer Carl Matzner establishes in 1858 the first glass studio in Vienna, Gumpendorf, Hauptstraße 193. He became a member of the Photographische Gesellschaft in 1861.

He works alone only during 4 years before his association with Paul Raentz in 1862, subsequently builds further studios in Mariahilf and in the II district, moves to Wiener Neustadt, then to Graz, where he still owns a studio in 1913.






02-RUS-FDB bridge

02-RUS-FDB A Mysterious Moscow Photographer: Ferdinand Bureau : 02-RUS-FDB Changing Places Moscow in the 1850s 

We still do not know if Ferdinand Bureau (1813-1893) is a relative of the French Bureau family of photographers: Stanislas Victor Bureau (1806-1888), Victor Stanislas Bureau (1833-unkn.), Palmyre Stanislas dit Léon Bureau (1838-unkn.), Jean-Albert Dumaine. A fashionable newspaper relates that Ferdinand engaged and married in Moscow Xaverine-Henriette-Octavie, daughter of colonel St-Sclair, of Scottish origin).


2-FRA-CSN Negre neg garcon

2-FRA-CSN Collodion on glass plates by Charles Negre : 2-FRA-CSN Negre Negatives

With an essay on collodion, a flammable, syrupy solution of « nitrocellulose » (also known as “cellulose nitrate”, “flash  paper”, and “gun cotton”) in ether and alcohol. Collodion is often used as a surgical dressing or to hold dressings in place. When painted on the skin, collodion dries to form a flexible nitrocellulose film. Non- flexible collodion is often used in theatrical make-up.



2-JAP-PER Rossier-Japan

2-JAP-PER Pierre Rossier Photographe en Chine et au Japon : Young-swiss-adventurer-creates-the-first-photographs-of-japan-to-be-sent-to-the-world/

One hundred and sixty two years ago, a young Swiss adventurer creates the first photographs of Japan to be sent to the World … Negretti and Zambra was a company that produced scientific (philosophical) and optical instruments and also operated a photographic studio based in London, England. Henry Negretti (1818–1879) and Joseph Zambra (1822–1897) formed a partnership in 1850, thereby founding the firm which would eventually be appointed opticians and scientific instrument makers to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and King Edward VII, the Royal Observatory and the British Admiralty. (Both Negretti and Zambra were born in Italy.)



2-CHI-MMM Amoy Girls


“In Hong Kong, in the 1860’s, a succession of photographers opened and closed studios, often buying and selling their predecessors’ stock and negatives … Who was first ? … Marshall Milton MILLER was born on 5 April 1830 in Dummerston, Vermont, USA.  An American professional photographer, he worked in Hong Kong and Canton (Guangzhou) for about three years from July 1860, before returning to America.  “Whilst in China he demonstrated an exceptional skill in studio portraiture.”




2-IND-SLB Samuel Bourne Returns to Lucknow

2-IND-SLB Samuel Bourne Returns to Lucknow : 2-IND-SLB Samuel Bourne

“Samuel Bourne was a British photographer who spent seven extremely productive years in India, and by the time he returned to England in January 1871, he had made approximately 2,200 fine images of the landscape and architecture of India and the Himalayas. Working primarily with a 10×12 inch plate camera, and using the complicated and laborious Wet Plate Collodion process …”



2-FRA-EEd Deux cdv marins enfants

2-FRA-EED Eugène Disdéri, Cartes de visites enfantines : 2-FRA-EED Children in the Temple of Photography

“Avec la photographie, la bourgeoisie a trouvé sa technique et son esthétique ; avec la photo-carte de visite – dont Disdéri dépose le brevet en 1854 – elle trouve son support et son usage… « Puis, coup décisif, l’apparition de Disdéri et de la carte de visite qui donnait pour quelque vingt francs douze portraits quand on avait payé jusque-là cinquante ou cent francs pour un seul ». (Nadar)… “Tous, bourgeois, aristocrates et rastaquouères, se faisaient photographier devant les décors de son invention…




2-FRA-CBE Charles Baudelaire ou le Rêve d’un curieux : 2-FRA-CBE Baudelaire

Etude sur les portraits photographiques de Charles Baudelaire à l’occasion de l’identification d’une étrange composition évoquant son poème le Rêve d’un curieux, Connais-tu, comme moi, la douleur savoureuse / Et de toi fais-tu dire: «Oh! l’homme singulier!» / — J’allais mourir. C’était dans mon âme amoureuse Désir mêlé d’horreur, un mal particulier…”

“Une photographie n’est jamais aussi forte que lorsqu’elle laisse surgir par le hasard et la distance le vrai matériel. la photographie de carjat est en ceci étonnante qu’elle est à la limite de l’instantané, conception presque inédite alors ; cette photographie semble capter l’imprévu dans lequel se glisse l’image saisie d’un baudelaire curieux. c’est une image qui échappe aux canons esthétiques théorisés par baudelaire – si moderne fut-il – car elle anticipe une photographie captant le transitoire, le fugitif et le contingent sans chercher à usurper les qualités de l’art. baudelaire n’est pas passé à côté de la modernité photographique, il l’incarne ici.” (Paul-Louis Roubert).



2-USA-AML Lincoln Look-alikes

2-USA-AML Lincoln Look-alikes : 2-USA-AML Lincoln Look-alikes

A look-alike, double, or doppelgänger is a person, real or fictitious, who closely resembles another person — respectively, real or fictitious — in appearance … Post 1861 Inauguration and post 1865 Assassination Lincoln bearded look-alikes are numerous. On the other hand, only two pre-1860 beardless look-alike or candidates have been suggested in a century of avid investigation.




2-BRI-H&A Lady Eastlake

2-BRI-RES Elizabeth Rigby (Lady Eastlake), On Photography, published in the London Quaterly Review, 1857  : 2-BRI-RES Lady Eastlake On Photography 

It is now more than fifteen years ago that specimens of a new and mysterious art were first exhibited to our wondering gaze… Since then photography has become a household word and a household want; is used alike by art and science, by love, business, and justice; is found in the most sumptuous saloon, and in the dingiest attic–in the solitude of the Highland cottage, and in the glare of the London gin-palace in the pocket of the detective, in the cell of the convict, in the folio of the painter and architect, among the papers and patterns of the millowner and manufacturer, and on the cold brave breast on the battle-field. As early as 1842 one individual, of the name of Beard, assumed the calling of a daguerreotype artist. In 1843 he set up establishments in four different quarters of London, reaching even to Wharf Road, City Road, and thus alone supplied the metropolis until 1847. In 1848 Claudet and a few more appear on the scene, but, owing to then existing impediments, their numbers even in 1852 did not amount to more than seven. In 1855 the expiration of the patent and the influence of the Photographic Society swelled them to sixty-six — in 1857 photographers have a heading to themselves and stand at 147…



2-FRA-GLG Encheres 21 avril 1860

2-FRA-GLG Annonce de la vente du 21 avril 1860, établissement photographique de Gustave Le Gray. Etude sur quelques catalogues des premières ventes aux encheres de photographies : 2-FRA-GLG Early Photo Auctions

21 avril 1860, 21 avril 2016. Il y a exactement 156 ans jour pour jour se tenait l’une des premières ventes aux enchères de photographies. Elle consistait en un seul lot : le matériel avec les épreuves du studio de Gustave le Gray, ses créances feront l’objet d’une autre adjudication. Il n’y avait qu’un seul enchérisseur, ou plutôt deux associés : les deux frères de Briges, banquiers du photographe, qui, jouant les naufrageurs, l’avaient acculé à la banqueroute et venaient chercher la prime de leur action. Alexandre Dumas fit publier dans son journal le Monte-Cristo un article en demi teinte, dont l’humour grinçant à peine perceptible échappe encore à la sagacité des passants.

On a coutume de dire que le marché de la photographie date des années 1980, de désigner telle ou telle maison comme étant la pionnière. Voici les reproductions de quelques catalogues de ventes remarquables dont l’un date de 1915. On remarque que ces exemples concernent surtout le monde français ou anglo-saxon, il conviendra de les compléter. On était sans nouvelles des épreuves de Gustave Le Gray vendues à la bougie en ce 21 avril 1860 mais il semble bien que 156 ans plus tard, le 5 février dernier – qui est le jour de la sainte Agathe de Catane – un indice ait surgi en plein Paris quand un groupe d’épreuves d’un noir intense a refait surface. Leur description est en cours et le catalogue en sera disponible avant l’été. Rendez-vous le 27 octobre 2016 pour une remarquable vente aux enchères.



2-BRI-RES Dr Weil

2-BRI-RES Ressource : le catalogue de 1943 du Dr Ernst Weil consacré à l’histoire de la photographie : 2-BRI-RES catalogue du Dr Weil 

Dr Weil knew London where he had worked as a bank clerk in 1913-14 at the request of his father. He got a job at the renowned antiquarian EP Goldschmidt and opened in 1943 his own successful bookshop. Even during the war, he kept contacts with the European Antiquar- ian scene. Transactions were made in Paris or on the international train station in Basel. Dr Weil never returned to Germany. This very rare catalogue n°4 is partly dedicated to the invention of photography, and contains key items by Talbot, Claudet, Cameron, Baldus or Stirling on Spain. It has been reprinted by Mauricio Martino.