[Painting of The Campfires at Camp de Chalons by Bénédict Masson]
Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820–1884)
Albumen silver print from glass negative
27.8 x 35.9 cm. (10 15/16 x 14 1/8 in.)
Gift of Mathew Davis Wolf, in memory of Diane R. Wolf, 1984
Not on view
In 1857, Le Gray was commissioned to produce an album of photographs documenting the maneuvers of the French Imperial Guard at the Camp de Châlons. His series of images encompassed every aspect of military life, from the daily routine in the camp to simulated combat. The firelit activities of the camp at night, however, were beyond the technical capacity of photography, leaving Le Gray to photograph a painter's rendition of a nighttime scene. The gap between the photographer's art and that of the painter is so wide, however, that Le Gray's picture tells more about the nature of these two media than about its supposed subject. [label for Gilman IV]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Beyond the Edges: An Insider's Look at Early Photographs," October 9, 1998–February 14, 1999.
Parry Janis, Eugenia. The Photography of Gustave Le Gray. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1987. pp. 84–99.