Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Finance Ministry, Burned. Exterior View

Artist:
Alphonse J. Liébert (French, 1827–1913)
Author:
Alfred d'Aunay (French)
Date:
1871
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
Images approx.: 19 x 25 cm (7 1/2 x 9 13/16 in.), or the reverse Mounts: 32.8 x 41.3 cm (12 15/16 x 16 1/4 in.), or the reverse
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library Fund, 2007
Accession Number:
2007.454.1.12
Not on view
Even in our own era, when the medium is ubiquitous, we remain captivated by photographs of the disasters of war, the devastation of natural disasters, or the shape of a local catastrophe. Is it to preserve history, remember suffering, advocate for reconstruction--or is it the same strange impulse that compels one to slow down and look at the wreckage of an accident on the highway? For whatever reason, there was a huge demand for images of the ruins of post-Commune Paris. Liébert was but one of many photographers who toured the city recording the government buildings, houses, factories, and fortifications reduced to rubble. His hundred-print series, usually found in a set of two leather-bound albums with an accompanying text that showed little sympathy for the Communards, was clearly aimed at a well-to-do audience, but other photographers produced inexpensive stereographs and cartes de visite that could be purchased by a wide audience.
Estate of Harry Lunn, Paris; [Baudoin Lebon, Paris]

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Napoleon III and Paris," June 9–September 7, 2009.

Goldschmidt, Helmut, and Weston J. Naef. The Truthful Lens: A Survey of the Photographically Illustrated Book, 1844–1914. 1st ed. New York: The Grolier Club, 1980. no. 105.

Bajac, Quentin. La Commune Photographiée. Paris: Musée d'Orsay, 2000. p. 114.



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Les Ruines de Paris et de ses Environs 1870-1871: Cent Photographies: Premier Volume. Par A. Liébert, text par Alfred d'Aunay.

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