Presentation on theme: "“European views on the American daguerreotype” François Brunet (Université Paris Diderot)"— Presentation transcript:
“European views on the American daguerreotype” François Brunet (Université Paris Diderot)
G. Potonniée, Histoire de la découverte de la photographie, 1924, p. 230-231, chapter on portraiture: “Thus by the end of 1839 it was already common to execute portraits by the daguerreotype. One must therefore reject as absolutely incorrect the assertion by Harrison that the first daguerreian portrait was obtained by Draper in New York towards the end of 1839 and that of Sachse that the first daguerreian portrait executed in the world was by Robert Cornelius of Philadelphia in november 1839. Draper had had his model sit for half an hour in full sunshine, the face whitened with flour and the eyes closed. What a beautiful image that must have made!”
John E. Mayall, View of the Crystal Palace at Hyde Park, 1851, large daguerreotype, 9 x 12 in.
Mayer brothers, Sitting young man, ca. 1850 (Musée d’Orsay). Advertisement on back label announces that the studio “demonstrates the American process”. Le “procédé américain”
“American daguerreotypists spare nothing to attract and keep the public’s favor. They spend enormous amounts on their workshops [ateliers]: these are true fairy-like palaces, worthy of comparison with those enchanted mansions which the Orientals endow the most gifted heroes of their Tales. There are marbles, carved in columns or given life by the sculptor’s apt chisel; richly embroidered tapestries, framing precious pictures; soft carpets, where one’s foot steps noiselessly; cages filled with birds from every part of the globe, singing from behind a mysterious curtain of rare plants, whose flowers scent the atmosphere as they bloom in the sunlight. That is what the American photographer calls his workshop. Everything is gathered there to relieve the visitor’s soul of its painful concerns, and to give his face an expression of calm and happiness. The manufacturer, the physician, the lawyer, the merchant, even the politician forget there the marks of business. How, then, would one bargain on the price asked for one’s portrait by such wizards ?” Ernest Lacan, Esquisses Photographiques, p. 148