Posts Tagged ‘eugene delacroix


Exhibition: ‘Real/Ideal: Photography in France, 1847-1860’ at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, Los Angeles

Exhibition dates: 30th August – 27th November 2016

Curator: Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum



The best fun I had was putting together Nadar’s Self-Portrait (c. 1855, below) with Henri Le Secq’s North Transept, Chartres Cathedral (Negative 1852; print 1870s, below). The relationship of the hands between the two prints is just delicious. I also love the waxed paper negative and salted paper prints: such a feeling of ephemerality can be obtained in the final image even though the photographs are rendering solid objects. According to my friend Ellie Young of Gold Street Studios who is an expert in early photographic processes, salted paper prints (and their relative, the Calotype) can be as light as a feather or as strong and solid as an albumen print. “Salt prints from Calotype negatives exhibit an expressive softness of tone much prized by early photographers.” With their use of chiaroscuro (from chiaro ‘clear, bright’ – from Latin clarus + oscuro ‘dark, obscure’ – from Latin obscurus), Gustave Le Gray’s seascapes, for which he is widely known and admired, are masterful.


Many thankx to the J. Paul Getty Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



Calotypes and Waxed Paper Negatives

“The Calotype proper is a negative image (along with its offshoot the waxed paper negative), although its positive counterpart, the salted paper print, is the more common form in which it is encountered. Calotypes are made by brushing the best quality drawing or writing paper with a solution of silver nitrate, drying the paper, and then immersing it in a solution of potassium iodide to form a light-sensitive layer of silver iodide. Immediately before use the surface it treated with ‘gallo-nitrate of silver’ (a mixture of silver nitrate solution and gallic acid) to act as an accelerator. Exposure in a camera, where the paper must be held in a dark slide, produces a latent (invisible) image which is developed by washing in gallo-nitrate of silver, fixed in hypo and thoroughly washed. The translucency of Calotypes can be improved by waxing, and a positive can be made by repeating the original process or by ‘printing out’ the image in much the same way as making a Photogenic Drawing. When toned, in, for instance, gold chloride solution (to give it a purpleish tone), a positive produced in this way is known as a ‘salted paper print’.

With the exception perhaps of the waxed paper process, which was invented in 1851 by Gustave Le Gray (1820-1882) and extended the life of paper negatives into the 1870s, the first generation processes – the Daguerreotype, Photogenic Drawing and Calotype – were all extinct by the end of the 1850s, having given way to their own offspring: the wet collodion glass negative and the albumen print.”

Anonymous. “Calotypes,” on the University of Oxford Museum of the History of Science website [Online] Cited 11/11/2016


Salted Paper Print

Once a paper negative had been secured, any number of positive prints could be created by contact printing. Preparation involved soaking good quality paper in a sodium chloride solution (table salt) and then brushing it with a solution of silver nitrate to produce light-sensitive silver chloride. Exposure of the sensitised paper to sunlight, in contact with a negative held in a frame, resulted in the emergence of a visible image without subsequent development. This ‘printed-out’ image was then fixed and toned. Salt prints, unless subsequently coated, have a characteristically matt appearance, with the image embedded in the paper. Although lacking the sharpness of detail associated with the daguerreotype, salt prints from Calotype negatives exhibit an expressive softness of tone much prized by early photographers. This portrait of the Rev. Julius Wood is one of a large series taken by Hill and Adamson to serve as references for a group portrait of the founders of the Free Church of Scotland that Hill had been commissioned to paint. These portraits, with other scenes and views, were later issued in a small ‘edition’ of 12 known copies, entitled One Hundred Calotype Sketches.


Wet collodion negative

Frederick Scott Archer’s wet collodion process, announced in 1851, became the standard photographic negative process for both amateurs and professionals from the mid-1850s until the early 1880s. The glass negative, with its structureless film, fine grain and clear whites proved immediately popular and within a decade had superseded both the daguerreotype and the calotype processes. To prepare the negative for exposure, a sheet of glass was coated with a solution of iodised collodion (a syrupy liquid composed of soluble gun-cotton, ether and alcohol) and then made light-sensitive by immersion in a bath of silver nitrate. Known as a wet process because the glass negative required sensitising, exposing and processing while the chemicals were still damp, it required considerable manipulative skill, but produced a negative of unsurpassed sharpness and a broad tonal range. This view, on a 10 x 12 inch glass plate, is one of a large collection of photographs of architectural subjects commissioned from Lyon by the Madras and Bombay Governments in the late 1860s.


Albumen Print

The albumen print, announced by the French photographer and publisher Louis-Désiré Blanquard-Évrard in 1850, was the most widespread print medium in use between the mid-1850s and the 1890s. While the printing process was chemically similar to the salt print, the albumen print is generally distinguishable by the glossy sheen imparted by a preliminary sizing of the paper with albumen (egg white) and salt. This sealing of the paper created a surface layer on which the silver image was formed, and made possible much greater density, contrast and sharpness in the final image than had been possible with the plain salted paper print. After the albumen coating had been applied, the paper was made light sensitive by the addition of silver nitrate, and printed in contact with the negative. The fixed print could then be toned to create a wide variety of colours, ranging from purple-black to a rich chocolate brown. Although it continued to be used well into the twentieth century, its popularity declined after the mid-1890s, in favour of a variety of manufactured papers. This print is one of a series of studies of objects in the Royal Armoury at Madrid made around 1866 and is notable for its finely-controlled lighting and rich toning. The blacking-out of the background in this image isolates and increases the dramatic impact of the objects.

Anonymous. “Historic Photographs: Historic Processes,” on the British Library website [Online] Cited 11/11/2016


Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882) 'Tower of the Kings at Reims Cathedral' Negative, 1851-53; print, 1853


Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882)
Tower of the Kings at Reims Cathedral
Negative, 1851-53; print, 1853
Salted paper print from a paper negative
Image: 35.1 x 25.9 cm (13 13/16 x 10 3/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Édouard Baldus (French, born Germany, 1813-1889) 'Tour Saint-Jacques, Paris' 1852-1853


Édouard Baldus (French, born Germany, 1813-1889)
Tour Saint-Jacques, Paris
Salted paper print from a paper negative
Image: 42.9 x 34 cm (16 7/8 x 13 3/8 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882) 'Small Dwelling in Mushroom Cave' 1851


Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882)
Small Dwelling in Mushroom Cave
Salted paper print from a paper negative
Image: 35.1 x 22.7 cm (13 13/16 x 8 15/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820-1884) Auguste Mestral (French, 1812-1884) 'West Facade of the Cathedral of Saint-Gatien, Tours' 1851


Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820-1884)
Auguste Mestral (French, 1812-1884)
West Facade of the Cathedral of Saint-Gatien, Tours
Waxed paper negative
Image: 34.2 x 25.2 cm (13 7/16 x 9 15/16 in.)
Lent by the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine
© RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880) 'Notre-Dame, Paris' c. 1853


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880) 'Notre-Dame, Paris' c. 1853


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880)
Notre-Dame, Paris
c. 1853
Waxed paper negative
Image: 33.6 x 24 cm (13 1/4 x 9 7/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820-1884) 'Pavillon Mollien Pavilion, the Louvre, Paris' 1859


Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820-1884)
Pavillon Mollien Pavilion, the Louvre, Paris
Albumen silver print from a glass negative
Image: 36.7 x 47.9 cm (14 7/16 x 18 7/8 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Édouard Baldus (French, born Germany, 1813-1889) 'Amphitheater, Nîmes' 1850s


Édouard Baldus (French, born Germany, 1813-1889)
Amphitheater, Nîmes
Albumen silver print from a paper negative
Image: 33.3 x 43.3 cm (13 1/8 x 17 1/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880) 'Tarascon' 1852


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880)
Waxed paper negative with selectively applied pigment
Image: 23.7 x 33.2 cm (9 5/16 x 13 1/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880) 'Tarascon' 1852


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880)
c. 1852
Albumen silver print from paper negative



“In the shadow of the political revolutions of 1848, an artistic revolution was also brewing in France within the young medium of photography. An unprecedented period of creativity and discovery among photographers emerged between the first French announcement of a paper negative process in 1847 and more mechanical processes for photographs in the 1860s, sparking debates about photography’s prospects in the divergent fields of art and science.

Organized around the Getty Museum’s rich holdings of early French photography and supplemented with important international loans, Real/Ideal: Photography in France, 1847-1860, on view August 30-November 27, 2016 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, highlights the work of four pioneering photographers – Édouard Baldus (1813-1889), Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884), Henri Le Secq (1818-1882), and Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880) – alongside other artists who championed the paper and glass negative and contended with photography’s unprecedented “realism.”

“This exhibition tells a pivotal story about a short period – some 12 years – in the early history of photography; one that the Getty is uniquely positioned to tell given our extensive holdings of nineteenth-century French photographs,” explains Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “It is also an opportunity to showcase – for the first time – an important, recent acquisition of paper negatives from the collection of Jay McDonald. The exhibition sheds light on the freedom that early photographers enjoyed as they explored new means for developing images, and as they balanced the ‘real’ recording of the world as it is with the ‘ideal’, creative possibilities of the medium.”

The Paper Negative and Possibilities

The first paper negatives, created by William Henry Fox Talbot in England in the 1830s, first inspired French photographers in the early 1840s. In 1847, a cloth manufacturer named Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard (1802-1872) published a method of improving the paper negative, a process which created a more refined positive image. Due to the political turmoil of 1848, his discovery went unnoticed by the French government, which had long favored the hyper-real quality of the silver-plated daguerreotype invented by Louis Daguerre (French, 1787-1851) in 1839.

Without a national mandate or commercial viability, French photographers using the paper negative enjoyed a brief period of freedom and experimentation between 1847 and 1860. Gustave Le Gray’s innovation of the “waxed paper negative,” which involved the addition of a layer of wax before the negative was sensitized with photo chemistry, was particularly vital, rendering the negative more translucent and portable. Rare waxed paper negatives by these photographers from the Getty Museum’s collection and from the Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine and the Musée D’Orsay in Paris will be on view. The exhibition will also include a view of Montmartre from “barrière de Clichy,” a photographic school and studio that Le Gray founded in 1849, as well as other early prints from paper negatives by Hippolyte Bayard, Henri-Victor Regnault, and Humbert de Molard.

The Rise of Realism

Originally trained as painters, Baldus, Le Gray, Le Secq, and Nègre saw the creative potential of photography and became its greatest champions. They were founding members of the Société héliographique, the first professional group devoted to photography, which published an important journal, La lumière. Experimentation in photography coincided with an increasing interest in “realism” – a word first used by critics in reference to paintings exhibited by Gustave Courbet (French, 1819-1877) at the 1849 Salon des Beaux-Arts. Artists and writers were increasingly rejecting academic, idealist subjects for everyday ones, and vanguard photographers similarly turned their attention towards the common individual, the worker, and the everyday scene. Nègre’s staged genre scenes of figures posed on the streets of Paris demonstrate how photography could interweave the “real” and “ideal.” Additionally, in Baldus’s documentation of the southern French seaside town of Bandol the idealized landscape is abandoned for a more realistic view, including the rugged foreground and industrial elements that lead back to a recently-constructed railroad bridge far in the distance.

Commissions, Demolitions, and Renovations

The new photographers of the period increased their profile through commissioned work for the French government. The Mission héliographique, which formed in 1851, hired five photographers (Baldus, Le Gray, Le Secq, Auguste Mestral, and Hippolyte Bayard) to travel across France and record hundreds of significant historical monuments before they were transformed through restoration under the government of Napoléon III. Nègre also pursued a six-month project to document the Midi region of France. The exhibition features examples from these projects, including images of Reims Cathedral, Chateau of Chenonceaux, and St. Gabriel près Arles.

Upon returning from their respective photographic missions, Baldus, Le Secq, Le Gray, and Nègre turned their attention to documenting the transformations – through demolition and restoration – of Parisian monuments, including the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Hotel de Ville, the Louvre Museum, the Place du Carrousel, and the Tour Saint-Jacques, images of which are also on view in the exhibition.

“Baldus and Nègre, who were friends as well as competitors, took a subject like the same cloister of Saint-Trophime in Arles and photographed it in different ways,” says Karen Hellman assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and curator of the exhibition. “Nègre captured a narrow, vertical section of the colonnade, while Baldus carefully joined ten negatives to create a more all-encompassing view of the space.”

The Rise of Commercial Photography

The administration of Napoléon III and its free-market policies led to an explosion of commercial activity in photography, which was becoming increasingly industrialized and commonplace. The use of the paper negative fell out of favor and was gradually replaced by the sharper and more sensitive glass plate negative. The Getty’s exhibition thus presents a rare insight into a brief yet important moment in the history of photography that was shaped by these four pioneering photographers.

Real/Ideal: Photography in France 1847-1860 is on view August 30-November 27, 2016 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. An accompanying publication, Real/Ideal: Photography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century France will be available, with essays by Sylvie Aubenas, Anne de Mondenard, Paul-Louis Roubert, Sarah Freeman and Karen Hellman. Also on view in the Center for Photographs will be Richard Learoyd: In the Studio, curated by Arpad Kovacs, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Press release from the J. Paul Getty Museum


Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820-1884) 'Seascape with a Ship Leaving Port' 1857


Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820-1884)
Seascape with a Ship Leaving Port
Albumen silver print from a glass negative
Image: 31.3 x 40.3 cm (12 5/16 x 15 7/8 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Édouard Baldus (French, born Germany, 1813-1889) 'Cloister of Saint-Trophime, Arles' c. 1861


Édouard Baldus (French, born Germany, 1813-1889)
Cloister of Saint-Trophime, Arles
c. 1861
Albumen silver print from a glass negative
Image: 33.7 x 42.9 cm (13 1/4 x 16 7/8 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882) 'Statue of Christ at Reims Cathedral' Negative 1851; print 1870s


Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882)
Statue of Christ at Reims Cathedral
Negative 1851; print 1870s
Image: 35 x 24.8 cm (13 3/4 x 9 3/4 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880) 'Organ Grinder at 21, Quai de Bourbon, Paris' c. 1853


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880)
Organ Grinder at 21, Quai de Bourbon, Paris
c. 1853
Salted paper print from a paper negative
Image: 10 x 8.3 cm (3 15/16 x 3 1/4 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880) 'Aisle of the Cloister of Saint-Trophime, Arles' c. 1852


Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880)
Aisle of the Cloister of Saint-Trophime, Arles
c. 1852
Salted paper print from a paper negative
Image: 32.4 x 23.2 cm (12 3/4 x 9 1/8 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882) 'South Porch, Central Portal, Chartres Cathedral' 1852


Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882)
South Porch, Central Portal, Chartres Cathedral
Waxed paper negative
Image: 34 x 24 cm (13 3/8 x 9 7/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Édouard Baldus (French, born Germany, 1813-1889) 'Viaduct, La Voulte-sur-Rhône' c. 1861


Édouard Baldus (French, born Germany, 1813-1889)
Viaduct, La Voulte-sur-Rhône
c. 1861
Albumen silver print from a glass negative, from the album Chemins de Fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée
Image: 31 x 42.7 cm (12 3/16 x 16 13/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Nadar [Gaspard Félix Tournachon] (French, 1820-1910) 'Self-Portrait' c. 1855


Nadar [Gaspard Félix Tournachon] (French, 1820-1910)
c. 1855
Salted paper print from a glass negative
Image: 20.5 x 17 cm (8 1/16 x 6 11/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882) 'North Transept, Chartres Cathedral' Negative 1852; print 1870s


Henri Le Secq (French, 1818-1882)
North Transept, Chartres Cathedral
Negative 1852; print 1870s
Image: 33.3 x 22.9 cm (13 1/8 x 9 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Nadar [Gaspard Félix Tournachon] (French, 1820-1910) 'Jean-François Philibert Berthelier, Actor' 1856-1859


Nadar [Gaspard Félix Tournachon] (French, 1820-1910)
Jean-François Philibert Berthelier, Actor
Salted paper print from a glass negative
Image: 24.2 x 18.9 cm (9 1/2 x 7 7/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Nadar [Gaspard Félix Tournachon] (French, 1820-1910) 'George Sand (Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin), Writer' c. 1865


Nadar [Gaspard Félix Tournachon] (French, 1820-1910)
George Sand (Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin), Writer
c. 1865
Albumen silver print from a glass negative
Image: 24.1 x 18.3 cm (9 1/2 x 7 1/4 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Jean-Louis-Marie-Eugène Durieu (French, 1800-1874) Possibly with Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863) 'Draped Model' c. 1854


Jean-Louis-Marie-Eugène Durieu (French, 1800-1874)
Possibly with Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798-1863)
Draped Model
c. 1854
Albumen silver print
Image: 18.6 x 13 cm (7 5/16 x 5 1/8 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles


Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820-1884) 'The Sun at Its Zenith, Normandy' 1856


Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820-1884)
The Sun at Its Zenith, Normandy
Albumen silver print from a glass negative
Image: 32.5 x 41.6 cm (12 13/16 x 16 3/8 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles



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Exhibition: ‘Dark Romanticism. From Goya to Max Ernst’ at the Städel Museum, Frankfurt

Exhibition dates: 26th September 2012 – 20th January, 2013


Many thankx to the Städel Museum for allowing me to publish the reproductions of the artwork in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



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Installation photographs of Dark Romanticism. From Goya to Max Ernstat the Städel Museum, Frankfurt. Photos: Norbert Miguletz


Arnold Böcklin. 'Villa by the Sea' 1871-1874


Arnold Böcklin (Swiss, 1827-1901)
Villa by the Sea
Oil on canvas
108 x 154cm
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main


Caspar David Friedrich. 'Kügelgen's Tomb' 1821-22


Caspar David Friedrich (German, 1774-1840)
Kügelgen’s Tomb
Oil on canvas
41.5 x 55.5cm
Die Lübecker Museen, Museum Behnhaus Drägerhaus, on loan from private collection


Ernst Ferdinand Oehme. 'Procession in the Fog' 1828


Ernst Ferdinand Oehme (German, 1797-1855)
Procession in the Fog
Oil on canvas
81.5 x 105.5cm
Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden


Samuel Colman. 'The Edge of Doom' 1836-1838


Samuel Colman (American, 1780-1845)
The Edge of Doom
Oil on canvas
137.2 x 199.4cm
Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Laura L. Barnes


Salvador Dalí. 'Dream caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Awakening' 1944


Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904-1989)
Dream caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Awakening
Oil on wood
51 x 41cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012



The Städel Museum’s major special exhibition Dark Romanticism. From Goya to Max Ernst will be on view from September 26th, 2012 until January 20th, 2013. It is the first German exhibition to focus on the dark aspect of Romanticism and its legacy, mainly evident in Symbolism and Surrealism. In the museum’s exhibition house this important exhibition, comprising over 200 paintings, sculptures, graphic works, photographs and films, will present the fascination that many artists felt for the gloomy, the secretive and the evil. Using outstanding works in the museum’s collection on the subject by Francisco de Goya, Eugène Delacroix, Franz von Stuck or Max Ernst as a starting point, the exhibition is also presenting important loans from internationally renowned collections, such as the Musée d’Orsay, the Musée du Louvre, both in Paris, the Museo del Prado in Madrid and the Art Institute of Chicago. The works on display by Goya, Johann Heinrich Fuseli and William Blake, Théodore Géricault and Delacroix, as well as Caspar David Friedrich, convey a Romantic spirit which by the end of the 18th century had taken hold all over Europe. In the 20th century artists such as Salvador Dalí, René Magritte or Paul Klee and Max Ernst continued to think in this vein. The art works speak of loneliness and melancholy, passion and death, of the fascination with horror and the irrationality of dreams. After Frankfurt the exhibition, conceived by the Städel Museum, will travel to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

The exhibition’s take on the subject is geographically and chronologically comprehensive, thereby shedding light on the links between different centres of Romanticism, and thus retracing complex iconographic developments of the time. It is conceived to stimulate interest in the sombre aspects of Romanticism and to expand understanding of this movement. Many of the artistic developments and positions presented here emerge from a shattered trust in enlightened and progressive thought, which took hold soon after the French Revolution – initially celebrated as the dawn of a new age – at the end of the 18th century. Bloodstained terror and war brought suffering and eventually caused the social order in large parts of Europe to break down. The disillusionment was as great as the original enthusiasm when the dark aspects of the Enlightenment were revealed in all their harshness. Young literary figures and artists turned to the reverse side of Reason. The horrific, the miraculous and the grotesque challenged the supremacy of the beautiful and the immaculate. The appeal of legends and fairy tales and the fascination with the Middle Ages competed with the ideal of Antiquity. The local countryside became increasingly attractive and was a favoured subject for artists. The bright light of day encountered the fog and mysterious darkness of the night.

The exhibition is divided into seven chapters. It begins with a group of outstanding works by Johann Heinrich Fuseli. The artist had initially studied to be an evangelical preacher in Switzerland. With his painting The Nightmare (Frankfurt Goethe-Museum) he created an icon of dark Romanticism. This work opens the presentation, which extends over two levels of the temporary exhibition space. Fuseli’s contemporaries were deeply disturbed by the presence of the incubus (daemon) and the lecherous horse – elements of popular superstition – enriching a scene set in the present. In addition, the erotic-compulsive and daemonic content, as well as the depressed atmosphere, catered to the needs of the voyeur. The other six works by Fuseli – loans from the Kunsthaus Zürich, the Royal Academy London and the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart – represent the characteristics of his art: the competition between good and evil, suffering and lust, light and darkness. Fuseli’s innovative pictorial language influenced a number of artists – among them William Blake, whose famous water colour The Great Red Dragon from the Brooklyn Museum will be on view in Europe for the first time in ten years.

The second room of the exhibition is dedicated to the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya. The Städel will display six of his works – including masterpieces such as The Witches’ Flight from the Prado in Madrid and the representations of cannibals from Besançon. A large group of works on paper from the Städel’s own collection will be shown, too. The Spaniard blurs the distinction between the real and the imaginary. Perpetrator and victim repeatedly exchange roles. Good and evil, sense and nonsense – much remains enigmatic. Goya’s cryptic pictorial worlds influenced numerous artists in France and Belgium, including Delacroix, Géricault, Victor Hugo and Antoine Wiertz, whose works will be presented in the following room. Atmosphere and passion were more important to these artists than anatomical accuracy.

Among the German artists – who are the focus of the next section of the exhibition – it is Carl Blechen who is especially close to Goya and Delacroix. His paintings are a testimony to his lust for gloom. His soft spot for the controversial author E. T. A. Hoffmann – also known as “Ghost-Hoffmann” in Germany – led Blechen to paint works such as Pater Medardus (Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin) – a portrait of the mad protagonist in The Devil’s Elixirs. The artist was not alone in Germany when it came to a penchant for dark and disturbing subjects. Caspar David Friedrich’s works, too, contain gruesome elements: cemeteries, open graves, abandoned ruins, ships steered by an invisible hand, lonely gorges and forests are pervasive in his oeuvre. One does not only need to look at the scenes of mourning in the sketchbook at the Kunsthalle Mannheim for the omnipresent theme of death. Friedrich is prominently represented in the exhibition with his paintings Moon Behind Clouds above the Seashore from the Hamburger Kunsthalle and Kügelgen’s Grave from the Lübecker Museums, as well as with one of his last privately owned works, Ship at Deep Sea with full Sails.

Friedrich’s paintings are steeped in oppressive silence. This uncompromising attitude anticipates the ideas of Symbolism, which will be considered in the next chapter of the exhibition. These ‘Neo-Romantics’ stylised speechlessness as the ideal mode of human communication, which would lead to fundamental and seminal insights. Odilon Redon’s masterpiece Closed Eyes, a loan from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, impressively encapsulates this notion. Paintings by Arnold Böcklin, James Ensor, Fernand Khnopff or Edvard Munch also embody this idea. However, as with the Romantics, these restrained works are face to face with works where anxiety and repressed passions are brought unrestrainedly to the surface; works that are unsettling in their radicalism even today. While Gustave Moreau, Max Klinger, Franz von Stuck and Alfred Kubin belong to the art historical canon, here the exhibition presents artists who are still to be discovered in Germany: Jean-Joseph Carriès, Paul Dardé, Jean Delville, Julien-Adolphe Duvocelle, Léon Frédéric, Eugène Laermans and Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer.

The presentation concludes with the Surrealist movement, founded by André Breton. He inspired artists such as Ernst, Brassaϊ or Dalí, to create their wondrous pictorial realms from the reservoir of the subconscious and celebrated them as fantasy’s victory over the “factual world”. Max Ernst vehemently called for “the borders between the so-called inner and outer world” to be blurred. He demonstrated this most clearly in his forest paintings, four of which have been assembled for this exhibition, one of them the major work Vision Provoked by the Nocturnal Aspect of the Porte Saint-Denis (private collection). The art historian Carl Einstein considered the Surrealists to be the Romantics’ successors and coined the phrase ‘the Romantic generation’. In spite of this historical link the Surrealists were far from retrospective. On the contrary: no other movement was so open to new media; photography and film were seen as equal to traditional media. Alongside literature, film established itself as the main arena for dark Romanticism in the 20th century. This is where evil, the thrill of fear and the lust for horror and gloom found a new home. In cooperation with the Deutsches Filmmuseum the Städel will for the first time present extracts from classics such as Frankenstein (1931), Dracula (1931), Faust (1926), Vampyr (1931-32) and The Phantom Carriage (1921) within an exhibition.

The exhibition, which presents the Romantic as a mindset that prevailed throughout Europe and remained influential beyond the 19th century, is accompanied by a substantial catalogue. As is true for any designation of an epoch, Romanticism too is nothing more than an auxiliary construction, defined less by the exterior characteristics of an artwork than by the inner sentiment of the artist. The term “dark Romanticism” cannot be traced to its origins, but – as is also valid for Romanticism per se – comes from literary studies. The German term is closely linked to the professor of English Studies Mario Praz and his publication La carne, la morte e il diavolo nella letteratura romantica of 1930, which was published in German in 1963 as Liebe, Tod und Teufel. Die schwarze Romantik (literally: Love, Death and Devil. Dark Romanticism).

Press release from the Städel Museum website


Francisco de Goya. 'Flying Folly (Disparate Volante)' 1816-1819


Francisco de Goya (Spanish, 1746-1828)
Flying Folly (Disparate Volante)
from “The proverbs (Los proverbios)”, plate 5, 1816-1819, 1.
Edition, 1864
Etching and aquatint
21.7 x 32.6cm
Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main


Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. 'Nosferatu – A Symphony of Horror' Germany 1922


Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (German, 1888-1931)
Nosferatu – A Symphony of Horror
Germany 1922
Silent film
© Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung


Edvard Munch. 'Vampire' 1916-1918


Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863-1944)
Oil on canvas
85 x 110cm
Collection Würth
Photo: Archiv Würth
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012


René Magritte. 'Sentimental Conversation' 1945


René Magritte (Belgian, 1898-1967)
Sentimental Conversation
Oil on canvas
54 x 65cm
Private Collection
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012


Paul Hippolyte Delaroche. 'Louise Vernet, the artist's wife, on her Deathbed' 1845-46


Paul Hippolyte Delaroche (French, 1797-1856)
Louise Vernet, the artist’s wife, on her Deathbed
Oil on canvas
62 x 74.5cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes
© Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes


Gabriel von Max. 'The White Woman' 1900


Gabriel von Max (Austrian, 1840-1915)
The White Woman
Oil on canvas
100 x 72cm
Private Collection


William Blake (1757-1827) 'The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun' c.1803-1805


William Blake (British, 1757-1827)
The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun
c. 1803-1805
Watercolour, graphite and incised lines
43.7 x 34.8cm
Brooklyn Museum, Gift of William Augustus White


Roger Parry (1905-1977) 'Untitled' 1929


Roger Parry (French, 1905-1977)
Illustration from Léon-Paul Fargue’s “Banalité” (Paris 1930)
Gelatin silver print
21.8 x 16.5cm
Collection Dietmar Siegert
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012



Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie
Schaumainkai 63, 60596 Frankfurt
Phone: +49(0)69-605098-170

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Wednesday, Saturday – Sunday 10-18 h
Thursday – Friday 10-21 h
Monday closed

Städel Museum website


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Exhibition: ‘Delacroix and Photography’ at Musée national Eugène Delacroix, Paris

Exhibition dates: 28th November 2008 – 2nd March 2009


Many thankx to the Musée national Eugène Delacroix for allowing me to publish the artwork in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



Eugène Delacroix. 'Etude de jambes d'homme assis et étude d'une tête' nd


Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
Etude de jambes d’homme assis et étude d’une tête
Lead pencil
20.3 x 15.2 cm
Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology of Besançon
© Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology of Besançon


Eugene Durieu. 'Nu masculin assis de face, les jambes écartées' 1854


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874)
Nu masculin assis de face, les jambes écartées
Plate XV of the Durieu Album
Salted paper from negative paper
17.8 x 12.8 cm
BnF, Department of Prints and photography
© BnF



Jean Louis Marie Eugène Durieu (1800-1874) was an early French amateur nude photographer, primarily known for his early nude photographs of men and women. A number of his male and female models were also painted by Eugène Delacroix, with whom he was friends.

Durieu was born in Nîmes, and became known for making studies of nudes for Delacroix. During his career Durieu was a lawyer. His last job was inspector for education and culture. In 1849 he went into early retirement and devoted himself to the newly developing technology of photography. In 1853, Durieu worked with Delacroix on a series of photographs of different male and female nude models.

Text from the Wikipedia website


In the early 1850s, Durieu, like many of his photographic peers, gravitated from the daguerreotype to the calotype. None of the works from his daguerreotypical oeuvre can be attributed to him with any certainty. Apart from the Delacroix album held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, another work on paper does exist, however, a more personal album preserved at the George Eastman House in Rochester, which was once part of the Gabriel Cromer collection. Its repertoire is more varied and includes female nudes in fairly elaborate settings, as well as portraits and reproductions of paintings and engravings. …

In 1851, along with Delacroix, Durieu became one of the founder members of the Société Heliographique, the first French institution to be created specifically for photographers. Above all, its brief was to encourage the development of photography on paper and in particular the calotype as opposed to the daguerreotype.

It was at precisely this time in the early 1850s that Delacroix’s interest in photography was at its height, coinciding with that of Durieu. In February 1850, he wrote in his journal: “ask Boissard for some daguerreotypes on paper,” and later, in September 1850: “Laurens tells me that Ziegler is producing a sizeable number of daguerreotypes, including portrayals of nude men. I intend to go and see him to ask if he can lend me a few.” In May 1853, he showed Pierret and his cousin Léon Riesener the prints given to him by Durieu. In November 1853, he discussed the topic of photography with Riesener, who in the 1840s had not only been a painter but an ‘author’ of daguerreotypes. Delacroix maintained that the term author was a misnomer for what he regarded as a mechanical recording process, a machine-led art: “He referred to the solemn account the good Durieu and his friend, who assists him in these operations, give of their time and trouble, whilst taking much of the credit for the success of the aforementioned operations, or more precisely their results.” He made fun of Riesener, who had asked them with great trepidation if he could use their pictures as models for his paintings without being accused of plagiarism. Finally, on two successive Sundays, 18 and 25 June 1854, he visited Durieu on the seventh floor of his home at 40 rue de Bourgogne to ask him to make a series of photographs of models under his guidance…

Extract from Sylvie Aubenas. “Eugène Durieu, senior civil servant, photographer and forger,” No 32 Printemps 2015 (translation Caroline Bouché) on the Etudes photographiques website [Online] Cited 04/10/2018


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874) 'Nude couple: female nude standing in the background, male nude sitting in profile on a leopard skin' 1854


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874)
Nude couple: female nude standing in the background, male nude sitting in profile on a leopard skin
Plate 3 of an album containing 32 studies of models
Salted paper print
16.2 x 11.5 cm
BnF coll., Paris
© BnF


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874) 'Model of male nude sitting in profile on a leopard skin' 1854


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874)
Model of male nude sitting in profile on a leopard skin
Plate 11 of an album containing 32 studies of models
Salted paper print
17 x 13.5 cm
BnF coll., Paris
© BnF



“I look with passion and without fatigue at these photographs of naked men, this admirable poem, this human body on which I learn to read and whose sight tells me more than the inventions of scribblers.”

Delacroix, ‘Journal’, October 5, 1855



Delacroix was confronted, like his entire generation, with the emergence of photography. An intriguing tool fascinating for the painter, this medium occupies a place apart in all of his work. He is at the source of a deep reflection on artistic truth in the face of photographic realism.

Far from seeing photography as a potential rival to painting, Delacroix took a keen interest in the development of this new medium, following its technical progress with sufficient curiosity to become a founding member of the Heliographic Society in 1851. He amassed a considerable photographic collection-of frescoes by Raphael, paintings by Rubens, and cathedral sculptures. Moreover, although he did not use a camera himself, a series of male and female nude models were photographed at his request by Eugène Durieu, in 1854. We know from his diary and letters that he sometimes used these photographs to practice drawing when no live models were available. These shots, which he sometimes carries with him, are a valuable tool for practicing drawing during his stays in the province. They meet very personal criteria; Delacroix wanted to use images voluntarily a little blurry and mostly stripped of all the quaint accessories conveyed by commercial photographs to the attention of artists.

However, despite a deep fascination for photography, Delacroix keeps a critical eye on this new medium. He adopts an attitude sometimes skeptical about his proper use and mastery of the technique, refusing to award benefits beyond its instrumental value. His reluctance is particularly keen with regard to one’s own photographed image: he even goes so far as to demand the destruction of some negatives, fortunately in vain.

Almost all the photographs and the drawings done from them (together with a number of paintings) have been assembled for the first time at the Musée Delacroix, with the generous support of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and other collections. The exhibition also features a surprising series of photographic portraits of Delacroix himself, ranging from the precious intimate daguerreotypes of the 1840s to the more posed and strikingly dignified pictures taken by Carjat or Nadar toward the end of his life-many of which images the great man himself would rather have had destroyed.

Press release from the Musée National Eugène Delacroix


The Durieu Album

The album of thirty-two photographs preserved in the department Prints and Photography of the National Library de France and commonly known as “Durieu Album”, by the name of the author of the photographs contains mainly photographs of two nude models, a man and a woman, taken by Eugene Durieu in the presence and on the indications of Delacroix during two sessions of successive poses, on Sunday 18 and 25 June 1854. The album was probably in lot 1532 of the sale after the painter’s death, bought by the critic Philippe Burty, who said on the front page: “All this sequence of photographs was bought by me at the posthumous sale of Eugène Delacroix’s workshop. He used it often and his cartons contained a considerable number of pencil studies from these photographs some of which were made expressly for him by one of his friends, and the models posed by him.” This album went on to the bibliographer and historian of the art Maurice Tourneux, who offered it in 1899 to the Cabinet des Prints.

The examination of the album, whose pages are all presented here in the order of the pages, shows that divides into four distinct sequences. Plate I represents a seated male nude model. His black beard and its abundant hair absolutely distinguishes him from the model with the better drawn musculature having posed in the following photographs. This test is undoubtedly part of a different set provided by Durieu to Delacroix.

The twenty-six photographs that follow in the album are, like the first, calotypes, that is to say prints from negative on paper. The calotype is characterised by a slight blur that Delacroix’s eyes found useful and tolerable photography, the grain of the negative paper producing, in the prints, less precise contours than in the daguerreotype or prints based on collodion glass. These twenty-six photographs of June 1854 form a very homogeneous series, with two models. The man that Delacroix calls “the Bohemian” appears by the development of his musculature and his ease to pose, as a professional model. He is present alone on seventeen views, and on the other nine in the company of a female model, probably an Italian, also a professional model, who posed again in 1855 for two other photographers.

After this series, the album contains two studies (plates XXVIII and XXIX) of the same young woman, of which one served as the model for Odalisque of 1857 (private collection). The model is Miss Hamély, a small actress who appeared in tableaux vivants and pantomimes at the Porte-Saint-Martin theater (1853) but who also posed for photographers. The freedom that Delacroix takes in the painting in relation to the photography confirms that, he only uses it as a support for the imagination, unlike a painter like Gérôme for whom the cliche really replaces the model. So photography is amalgamated, among other ingredients, in a personal universe, not to mention the colours of the painting.

The album ends with three prints, based on a glass negative, of the same model draped to the waist, sitting in front of a plain canvas background. The sharpness, due to the negative on glass, the rigorous composition and images, their “professional” aspect make them totally different from the previous ones, to such that we can hesitate to attribute them to Durieu. While the calotypes posed by Delacroix are very rare, these last three images are seen in more than one collection; they have been broadcast to a wider audience.

Text from the Delacroix et la photographie exhibition pdf (translated from the French by Google translate)


Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) 'Two studies of naked men one standing, the other sitting' Nd


Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
Two studies of naked men one standing, the other sitting
Musée Eugène-Delacroix
© RMN / Michèle Bellot


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874) 'Nu féminin assis sur un divan, la tête soutenue par un bras' 1854


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874)
Nu féminin assis sur un divan, la 
tête soutenue par un bras
Plate XXIX of the Durieu Album
Salted paper varnished from negative paper
14 x 9.5 cm
BnF, Department of Prints and Photography
© BnF


Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) 'Odalisque' 1857


Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
Oil on wood
39.5 x 31 cm
Private Collection


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874) 'Model Study' 1854


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874)
Model Study
BnF, Department of Prints and photography, Paris
© BnF


Louis Camille d'Olivier (1827-1870) 'Female nude' 1855


Louis Camille d’Olivier (1827-1870)
Female nude
Salted paper print
21 x 16 cm
BnF, Department of Prints and Photography
© BnF


Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) 'Study of naked woman in profile on the left' Nd


Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
Study of naked woman in profile on the left
Lead pencil
13.6 x 20.9 cm
Louvre Museum, Department of the Arts graphics
© RMN Photo / Thierry Le Mage


Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) 'Three studies of men' Nd


Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
Three studies of men
Lead pencil
19.2 x 25.3 cm
Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology from Besançon
© Museum of Fine Arts and Archeology from Besançon


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874) 'Naked man standing, back, holding a vertical stick' Nd


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874)
Naked man standing, back, holding a vertical stick
Albumine paper
9.9 x 5.8 cm
Gérard Lévy Collection
© 2008 Louvre Museum / Pierre Ballif


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874) 'Naked man sitting on a chair' Nd


Eugène Durieu (1800-1874)
Naked man sitting on a chair
Albumen paper
9.7 x 5.8 cm
Gérard Lévy Collection
© 2008 Louvre Museum / Pierre Ballif


Léon Riesener (1808-1878) 'Portrait of Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)' 1842


Léon Riesener (1808-1878)
Portrait of Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)
© Musée d’Orsay, Dist RMN / Patrice Schmidt



Louis Antoine Léon Riesener (21 January 1808 in Paris – 25 May 1878 in Paris) was a French Romantic painter.

Enchanted by the play of light and reflections which transformed the appearance of matter, Riesener began a new aesthetic that made him one of the precursors of impressionism. A passionate colourist, he researched all the nuances of colour and studied the techniques of ancient Greece and the Renaissance, including Titian, Veronese and Corregio. Impressed by his research into colour, he turned towards Rubens, which for him was the Shakespeare of painting. Very early in his career Riesener studied tonal divisions, well before the physician Chevreul discovered their scientific basis. His tactile taste led him to look for the most perfect expression of matter and particularly of skin. He put poetry into his painting by the play of shadow and he passionately admired nature, life and all the beauties they produced.

He researched the subject of life in the countryside and, liking to paint reality, said he wanted to express “the heat of the day, the melancholy of the evening, meadows, flowers as they are in nature”. His study of the elements caused him to paint a series of skies which varied according to the light and time of day – the subjects were ahead of their time and Riesener had to fight hard against the Salon juries and the Institut. Using pure colours, he excluded the blacks and whites which had been used for shadows and light before him. His material science of colour was the opposition which gave birth to contrasts from juxtaposed pigments. He did not portray faces by contours, but by shadows and modelling.


Relations with Delacroix

After his father’s return from Russia in 1823 Léon got to know Eugène Delacroix better. Ten years older than Riesener, Delacroix was his first-cousin – they shared a grandmother, Marguerite-Françoise Vandercruse, whose daughter by her first marriage was Delacroix’s mother and whose second husband Jean-Henri Riesener was Riesener’s grandfather. Delacroix quickly recognised Riesener’s talent and originality and he supported his early career by recommending him to civil servants he knew. On trips to the countryside they met at Valmont, near Fécamp, the home of their cousin Bataille, owner of the abbaye from 1822 onwards. Riesener devotedly attended Pierret’s salon (Pierret was a school friend of Delacroix), where he met Mérimée, Viel-Castel, Sauvageot, Feuillet de Conches, Viollet-le-Duc, Lasus and Guillemardet. Later, Riesener became friends with Fantin-Latour, Ernest Chausson and the Morisots (the Morisot family was very friendly with the Riesener family, with Rosalie Riesener’s friend Berthe Morisot researching Léon’s opinions, listening to his advice and copying out about 135 pages of his writings) – his friends were artists and he preferred a quiet life rather than the high life favoured by Delacroix.

From childhood, Riesener and Delacroix were friends and confidants. So different in life and character and so independent, they were preoccupied by the same artistic problems and enjoyed exchanging ideas, both having been formed by the 18th century and its neo-classical culture. They discussed their study of the classical world and they were both colourist painters searching for new techniques in tonal division. The difference in their temperaments expressed itself in their ways of looking at nature – Delacroix thought of drama, Riesener thought of sensuality. Delacroix bought Riesener’s painting Angélique as an exemplar for all painters and put it in his studio. On his death in 1863, Delacroix left Riesener his country house at Champrosay.

Text from the Wikipedia website


Nadar (French, 1820-1910) 'Eugène Delacroix seated three-quarter facing, his hand in the waistcoat' 1858


Nadar (Gaspard-Félix Tournachon) (French, 1820-1910)
Eugène Delacroix seated three-quarter facing, his hand in the waistcoat
Salted paper
24.5 x 18 cm
BnF, Department of Prints and Photography
© BnF



Musée National Eugène Delacroix
6 rue de Furstenberg
75 006 Paris
Phone: +33 (0)1 44 41 86 50

Opening hours:
The museum is open daily except Tuesday, 9.30 am – 5 pm (tickets sold until 4:30 pm)

Musée national Eugène Delacroix website


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

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