Imprimerie photographique de Blanquart-Évrard, à Lille (French, active 1851–55)
Salted paper print from paper negative
Image: 23.4 x 32.1 cm (9 3/16 x 12 5/8 in.)
Mount: 44.8 x 60 cm (17 5/8 x 23 5/8 in.)
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Not on view
For Salzmann history was in the details. Though the ravages of time, natural forces, and human conflict erased much of ancient cities, fragments hinted at the existence of civilizations such as the Kingdom of David, the Roman Empire, and earlier phases of the Ottoman Empire—all models for Second Empire France. Salzmann’s focus on the smallest details—a frieze’s vegetal decoration, loose statuary, a wall’s abstract patterns, or a helmet’s winged figure—gives his photographs a rare combination of directness and ephemerality. He would return to the holy city on two more archaeological expeditions in the 1860s. The creation of the Jerusalem album was just one step on a costly and grueling path that carried him to Algeria, Egypt, and Greece in his efforts to reconstruct the past from archaeological ruins.
Inscription: Inscribed in negative then gone over in pencil, recto BC: "S. 9."; printed on mount, recto BC: "Aug. Salzmann // JÉRUSALEM // ORNAMENTS ARABE // 1 // Gide et J. Baudry, éditeurs. // Imp. Photogr. de Blanquart - Evrard, à Lille."; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto TR: "158"; inscribed in pencil on mount then erased, recto BL: "D"; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto BR: "D"
André Jammes Collection; [Graphics International, Ltd.]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, October 7, 1978
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Faith and Photography: Auguste Salzmann in the Holy Land," September 12, 2016–February 5, 2017.
Perez, Nissan. "An Artist in Jerusalem: Auguste Salzmann." The Israel Museum Journal 1 (Spring 1982). pp. 19–50.
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.