Ridiculed by fellow scholars for contending that many architectural fragments examined on an 1850 expedition to Jerusalem dated from the period of David and Solomon, Félicien Caignart de Saulcy was further accused of having provided fanciful and inaccurate site drawings to support his thesis. Auguste Salzmann, an artist and archaeologist, entered this scholarly fray late in 1853, setting off for Jerusalem to study and photograph the disputed monuments; after four months' work, he returned to Paris with at least 150 negatives. For Salzmann, the conclusive power of his photographs was self-evident; simple examination of the visual evidence they provided proved de Saulcy correct. With obvious satisfaction, de Saulcy wrote of having been vindicated by "a most able draftsman, in truth, and one whose good faith would be difficult to question, . . . the sun." In contrast to the more generalized architectural views produced by other exploratory photographers in the Middle East, Salzmann's photographs often depict planar masonry surfaces or isolated architectural details. Although guided in his understanding of light and texture by his artistic training, Salzmann chose his subjects and vantage points to fulfill a scholarly, scientific mission; the results are often appealing to the modern eye for their minimalism and for their divergence from artistic convention. Salzmann's photographs of Jerusalem were printed in 1854 for private distribution and published for commercial sale two years later under the title "Jérusalem: Étude et reproduction photographique des monuments de la ville sainte depuis l'époque judaïque jusqu'à nos jours." The 1856 edition, from which this print is taken, included 174 plates and an accompanying text.
Inscription: Inscribed in negative, recto BL: "53."; printed on mount, recto BC: "Aug. Salzmann // JÉRUSALEM // SARCOPHAGE JUDAÏQUE // Gide et J. Baudry, éditeurs. // Imp. Photogr. de Blanquart - Evrard, à Lille."; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto TR: " 71 "; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso TL: "Salzmann–"
André Jammes Collection; [Graphics International, Ltd.]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, October 7, 1978
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Master Photographs from the Gilman Collection: A Landmark Acquisition," June 28, 2005–September 6, 2005.
Perez, Nissan. "An Artist in Jerusalem: Auguste Salzmann." The Israel Museum Journal 1 (Spring 1982). pp. 19–50.
Apraxine, Pierre. Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company. Reeds Springs, Mo.: White Oak Press, 1985. p. 18.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. p. 298.
In 1854, Auguste Salzmann created approximately two hundred paper negatives during a four-month sojourn in Jerusalem. He recorded sixty-eight sites and categorized them, with some exceptions, by monotheistic religion—Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. Many of the resulting salted paper prints were circulated privately soon after his return to Paris. In 1856, the album, Jerusalem: A Study and Photographic Reproduction of the Holy City, was first advertised as a commercial endeavor for a wider public. Photographic plates were distributed three at a time over fifty-eight installments from September 1856 through 1859. All of Salzmann’s Jerusalem photographs were printed by the preeminent Blanquart-Évrard firm of Lille, France, while their distribution was managed by Gide et Baudry of Paris. Each album was meant to include two volumes of photographic plates accompanied by an archaeological treatise authored by Salzmann. The album in The Met collection is complete with 174 unbound photographic plates.