Born in Paris, Le Dien studied law and served as a clerk before relocating to Algiers in 1848. He took up photography as an amateur while working as a deputy magistrate for the colonial government. Upon returning to Paris, he befriended a group of artists, writers, and aristocrats with ties to the photographer Gustave Le Gray. Between 1852 and 1853 Le Dien traveled to Italy with the painters Léon Gérard and Alexandre de Vonne. On a journey to Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast, Le Dien produced architectural photographs of monuments and landscapes using the process of waxed paper negatives invented by Le Gray. This view of Pompey’s Lane is a masterful evocation of the street as a visual marker of history. It bears the stamp Le Dien et Gustave Le Gray, attesting to the successful collaboration between amateur and professional. Le Gray likely printed his protégé’s negative in his own Paris studio.
Inscription: Inscribed on negative, BR: "5"; Ink stamp on print recto, BC: "LE DIEN // ET // GUSTAVE LE GRAY"; Inscribed in pencil on mount, recto TRC: "9" [circled]; Inscribed in pencil in period hand on mount, recto BL: "Pompei"; recto BR: "Voi de Pompée. Monument de Marmaria."; Inscribed in pencil on mount, recto BRC: "X"; mount verso, TLC: "30". [Note: The inscribed title is incorrect. This is not an image of the monument of Marmaria, found in Greece; it is the tomb monument of Mamia, found in Pompeii.]
[...]; W. H. Guebhard, a student of Le Gray; [...]; (Corbeil-Essones, France [internet auction], February 23, 2013, lot 185); [Charles Isaacs Photographs, New York]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 64," March 11, 2014–June 17, 2014.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photographs. "Paradise of Exiles: Early Photography in Italy," March 13, 2017–August 13, 2017.
Aubenas, Sylvie. Gustave Le Gray, 1820–1884. Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 2002.
This plate came from an album of 57 views of Italy, with "W. H. Guebhard" inscribed on the cover.