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Arc antique à Orange

Artist:
Édouard Baldus (French, born Prussia, 1813–1889)
Date:
1853
Medium:
Salted paper print from paper negative
Dimensions:
Image: 32.4 x 42.4 cm (12 3/4 x 16 11/16 in.) Mount: 48.6 x 63.5 cm (19 1/8 x 25 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2006
Accession Number:
2006.565
Not on view
In 1853 Baldus traveled throughout Provence, recording the region’s ancient and medieval monuments. Among his destinations was the first-century Roman arch at Orange, a site he had photographed two years earlier on a government-sponsored mission héliographique, or photographic survey. This time, he traveled with a new, larger format camera, and he honed a mature style that would bring him renown and that would become a standard for architectural photography. Photographing under diffused light conditions and on a scale that was nearly unprecedented, Baldus succeeded in conveying the monumentality of the Roman arch (63 feet high and 64 feet wide) and registering the details of coffering, fluted Corinthian columns, and bas-relief trophies with exquisite legibility. While allowing the ancient monument to be seen in its modern site (road construction in the foreground, laundry in the background), Baldus nonetheless intervened, painting on his negative to block out the sky, the treetops, and the telegraph pole and wires that must have seemed distracting or anachronistic.
Inscription: Inscribed and signed in negative BLC, BRC: "[Arc] antique a Orange." "E. Baldus."; facsimile signature stamp in blue ink on mount, BLC, below print: "E Baldus"; inscribed in pencil on mount, BLC: "Arc de Triomphe"; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso, RC, sideways: "9824/1"
The presence of the large facsimile signature stamp and the absence of an inscribed number in the negative indicate a print date prior to 1856.
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