Purchase, Joyce and Robert Menschel, The Howard Gilman Foundation, Harrison D. Horblit, Harriette and Noel Levine and Paul F. Walter Gifts and David Hunter McAlpin Fund; and Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry H. Lunn Jr., 1987
Not on view
Le Gray returned to the Forest of Fontainebleau in the mid-1850s with a larger camera and glass negatives. In contrast to the flickering abstraction of his earlier pictures, the later Fontainebleau photographs generally emphasize broader effects of light and shadow. In the work reproduced here, the only known print of this image, Le Gray broke with his more usual habit of photographing the noble, aging oaks for which the forest was famous, and focused instead on the seemingly insignificant brush springing from a tree trunk. Pointing his camera into the light-contrary to the accepted rules of good photographic practice-Le Gray celebrates a momentary epiphany of observation, a sparkling display of light and life, rendered in the golden hues characteristic of his prints from the mid-1850s.
Inscription: Signature stamped in red ink on lower right corner of image. "No. 95" inscribed in brown ink in the artist's hand on the lower right edge of the mount.
Harry H. Lunn, Jr.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Photography of Gustave Le Gray," June 4, 1987–August 16, 1987.
Art Institute of Chicago. "The Photography of Gustave Le Gray," September 18, 1987–December 6, 1987.
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," September 23, 1989–December 23, 1989.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 5," June 14, 1994–August 28, 1994.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.