André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri (French, Paris 1819–1889 Paris)
Albumen silver print from glass negative
19.7 x 23.2 cm. (7 3/4 x 9 1/8 in.)
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1995
Not on view
The introduction of the carte-de-visite portrait, promoted and popularized by the French photographer Disdéri beginning in the mid-1850s, brought photography to the middle class and celebrity to many of nobler rank. Using a camera fitted with four lenses and a sliding plate holder, a photographer could expose eight portraits on a single glass-plate negative. Depending upon the client's desires, the photographer could open all four lenses at once to make four images of two poses on the negative, open them two at a time as in this example, or open each sequentially to obtain eight distinct poses. Once the negative was developed, all eight portraits could be printed in a single operation and then trimmed and glued to visiting-card size mounts. This method of mass production made photographic portraits both abundant and affordable.
Inscription: Inscribed in the negative, CL: "12854"; inscribed in pencil, verso L edge: "12854 X Forbes Campbell"; label attached to album page BC, inscribed in ink: "12856. M. Forbes Campbell. 1859"
Disdéri Studio; General Rebora; Maurice Levert; M. & Mme. du Passage; Peschetau-Badin, Godeau et Leroy sale (Drouot, Paris) Jan. 28, 1995, lot 148; Charles Isaacs
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage," February 2, 2010–May 9, 2010.
McCauley, Elizabeth Anne. A. A. E. Disdéri and the Carte de Visite Portrait Photograph. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.
Aubenas, Sylvie. "Le petit monde de Disdéri." Etudes photographiques 3 (1997). pp. 26–41.