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"Where I was born…" : A Photograph, a Clue, and the Discovery of Abel Boulineau

Event Details

"Where I was born…" : A Photograph, a Clue, and the Discovery of Abel Boulineau

Time: March 5, 2011 to August 21, 2011
Location: Art Gallery of Ontario
Street: 317 Dundas Street West Toronto
City/Town: Ontario Canada M5T 1G4
Website or Map:
Phone: 1-877-225-4246
Event Type: exhibition
Organized By: Art Gallery of Ontario
Latest Activity: Feb 23, 2011

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Event Description

This exhibition features for the first time the work of a completely unknown French photographer and his photographs of French regional life at the turn of the 20th century. The group of 1,702 gelatin silver printing out paper prints was acquired by the AGO as the work of Émile Fréchon (1848-1921) but recent research has revealed the work to be by Abel Boulineau (1839–1934), a painter and teacher at the Association polytechnique in Paris, not known until now to have made photographs.

It is unclear how or why Boulineau learned photography, but every summer from 1897 to 1916, he traveled through different regions of France. Many of the photographs he made became the basis for paintings. He was indeed drawn to similar subjects no matter where he traveled: to washerwomen and tradespeople, shopkeepers and children, markets and villages, as well as the landscape. While these subjects were not uncommon for other artists of Boulineau’s day, his annual pursuit of these scenes highlights his romance with the rural and has yielded an unparalleled photographic record of the people he met and the places he visited.

Through a focused selection of more than 70 works in the AGO’s Tanenbaum Gallery, visitors will find out how they came to be attributed to Boulineau and will discover Boulineau’s gem-like photographs of the regions of Brittany, Aquitaine and the Rhône-Alps.

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