Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) was the most important photographer of the Second Empire in France, and initiated a new way of seeing. His students were amateurs from all different social backgrounds, and following the vision of their teacher they pioneered a new esthetique that was in complete rupture with the traditional teachings of the time.
This avant-garde modernist movement created images that surprised the public for their audacity, their perfection and their constant experimentation. The list of students includes Le Secq, Negre, Greene, Salzmann, Bérenger, Delaunay and Du Manoir.
The exhibition opens with a selection of works by Le Gray and an in-depth exploration of the common practices of the group: treatment of the subject, composition, obsession for shapes and geometry, and care for the print.
A second part shines a light on five more or less known students: Charles Negre, Henri Le Secq, John B. Greene, Alphonse Delaunay and Adrien Tournachon. The works of the latter are a revelation since some of his portraits, which are very acclaimed for some, were until today attributed to his famous brother Felix Nadar. Through the presentation of 160 prints (most of them unpublished) the exhibition proposes a new reading of the beginnings of photography.
— Anne de Mondenard et Marc Pagneux
The exhibition catalog (in French) is a wonderful resource for discovering some of this remarkable early photography.
FeatureGustave Le Gray:
Modernisme ou modernitéGustave Le Gray (1820-1884) was the most important photographer of the Second Empire in France. He initiated a new way of seeing, and his students went on to pioneer styles of photography that seem startlingly modern 160 years later.View Images
Gustave Le Gray:
Modernisme ou modernité
Modernisme ou modernité
Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) was the most important photographer of the Second Empire in France. He initiated a new way of seeing, and his students went on to pioneer styles of photography that seem startlingly modern 160 years later.View Images
Gustave Le Gray: Modernisme ou modernité
Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884) was the most important photographer of the Second Empire in France. He initiated a new way of seeing, and his students went on to pioneer styles of photography that seem startlingly modern 160 years later.
Charles Nègre Le sculpteur Auguste Préault devant le 21 quai Bourbon, Paris, vers 1856. © Collection particulière
Alphone Delaunay Type espagnol, 1854. © Collection particulière
Raymond de Bérenger Les portes de Sassenage, 1853. © Collection particulière
Cercle de la famille Bocher Louise de Courcy, vers 1860. © Collection particulière
Adrien Tournachon Taureau de Marienhof, 1856. © Collection Ruth et Peter Herzog
Gustave Le Gray et Auguste Mestral Galerie du cloître de Moissac, 1851. © Collection Serge Kakou
Alphonse Delaunay Types femmes espagnoles, 1854. © Collection particulière
Trending this Week
Fire of Hatred
In Iran, some vengeful lovers, spurned suitors or aggrieved family members turn to the awful, violent act of acid-throwing to exact revenge. This portrait series gives a platform for the victims to speak out.
In My Backyard: Iceland
Set against the grand, wild majesty of the eastern Icelandic landscape, these searching self-portraits are one woman’s attempts to connect with herself and forge a basic understanding with her environment.
A new, larger-than-life book of less-than-glamorous street portraits proves to be challenging. How would you describe these portraits by Gilden? Are these mean-spirited, or simply just real?
Inked: Why I Love Tattoos
“I got my first tattoo at home. Just like that, on the sofa. I keep on going because there are so many good tattooists out there. It’s like collecting art. It’s an honor to wear their work.” Shifting from trashy to trendy, tattoos make the...
Rolling Stone to Christopher Street: 30 Years of Portraits
Rolling Stone’s former chief photographer Mark Seliger discusses his current series, “On Christopher Street,” while offering invaluable advice for aspiring portrait photographers.
Tokyo Street Portraits
These intimate, up-close portraits of people in the streets of Tokyo speak for themselves. We love the direct gaze, the honesty and humanity of these photographs.