Quantcast
Videos ()
Semiotics of the Kitchen (excerpt), by Martha Rosler

Close

Ermitage de Passy

Pierre-Louis Pierson (French, 1822–1913)

Artist:
Painted and retouched by Unknown (French)
Date:
1863
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
Image: 12 x 8.5 cm (4 3/4 x 3 3/8 in.) Mount: 13 x 9.6 cm (5 1/8 x 3 3/4 in.) Mat: 35.6 x 27.9 cm (14 x 11 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.395
  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on mount, verso TC: "8 [boxed]"

  • Provenance

    Maurice Levert; (Pescheteau-Badin, Godeau & Leroy, Paris, January 28, 1995, lot 8); Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York

  • Notes

    The Countess appeared in a tableau vivant only once. This was at a charity gala at the residence of Baroness de Meyendorff on 16 April 1863. The audience expected something titillating, but the Countess confounded their expectations by appearing as the Hermit of Passy, dressed as a Carmelite nun and kneeling in a grotto. Some weeks later she authorized the sale of a photograph commemorating the scene for the then unheard-of price of 50 francs per copy, the money to be donated to the poor ("La Gazette des étrangers," 3 May 1863).

    The photograph was taken in Pierson's studio, probably a few days after the event. Three poses are known: one showing the Countess standing, turned toward the viewer, a faraway look in her eyes; another of her in profile, hands joined in prayer, in front of a makeshift altar; and one of the Countess seated, confronting the viewer with an unfathomable gaze. Only the photograph showing the first of these poses was released for sale, and it is intriguing that, despite the large number of prints in circulation, so few seem to have survived. A print similarly retouched in gouache is in the Alinari collection, dedicated by the Countess to the Marquis di Villamarina. An enlargement in the Montesquiou album in The Metropolitan Museum of Art is inscribed on the back in the Countess's hand: "Sœur Eliza" (1975.548.99). [PA; "La Divine Comtesse", p. 171-2]

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
285479

Close