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L'impératrice Eugénie en prière

Artist:
Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820–1884)
Date:
1856
Medium:
Albumen silver print from a collodion glass negative
Dimensions:
Image: 23.4 x 18.3 cm (9 3/16 x 7 3/16 in.) Mount: 40.1 × 27.5 cm (15 13/16 × 10 13/16 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Harriette and Noel Levine Gift, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.258
Not on view
Le Gray's photograph of Eugénie, wife of Emperor Napoleon III, was apparently intended as an aid to Thomas Couture for a large (and never completed) painting commemorating the baptism of Eugénie's son, the prince imperial. Le Gray, or perhaps Couture himself, posed the empress kneeling at a prie-dieu in the château at Saint-Cloud, elegantly trimmed in white tulle, and set against a dark ground; she plays perfectly her public and private roles, dignified and contemplative, imperial and maternal, in a private space amid imagined ceremony.
Inscription: Inscribed in black ink on original mount (in the hand of Abbé Misset), recto TL: "Autour du Prince Impérial"; TC: "S.M. l'Impératrice"; Inscribed in pencil on original mount, BR below photograph: "De toute rareté. // EM"; Inscribed in red pencil on mount, recto TL: "X"; black ink stamp on original mount, verso TL: "5531"; Blue ink stamp on mount, verso BL: "5531"
Gustave Le Gray; Abbé Misset, Paris; [Lunn Gallery, Washington, DC]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, May 31, 1983

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