Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs will present an exhibition of more than 40 early photographs by French photographer Charles Nègre (1820-1880) from 17th September through 1st November, 2013. Nègre is primarily known for his landscapes and architectural photographs of Paris and the South of France made in the 1850s. The exhibition will be the first one-man show of Nègre's photographs in the United States. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.Charles Nègre began taking photographs in 1844, just five years after the discovery of photography. Attracted to the medium as a way to collect visual images for his painting, Nègre quickly mastered photography, using a process modified by fellow student Gustave Le Gray.
Among the highlights in the exhibition is Une rue à Grasse, 1852, a waxed salt print of a street in Nègre's hometown, which, with its dynamic abstract composition anticipates 20th-century art photography. Jacob W. Lewis, an historian of 19th-century art and photography, notes in the catalogue, "This view of Grasse and its sun-soaked buildings and oil presses that line up on a steep zigzag road, interlocking like puzzle pieces, is no mere indulgence in the picturesque. Rather, it represents a test for photography as a means to capture the infinite variety of rough-hewn Provence into a fully considered tableau of pleasing effects, where no element is without its formal significance." Another print is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Photo: "The port at Toulon," salt print from glass negative, ca. 1853.
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