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Chartres

Pierre Emile Joseph Pécarrère (French, born 1816)

Date:
1850–52
Medium:
Salted paper print from paper negative
Dimensions:
Sheet: 10 13/16 × 8 1/2 in. (27.4 × 21.6 cm) Image: 10 1/4 × 8 1/8 in. (26.1 × 20.6 cm)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gift, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.37
  • Description

    This idiosyncratic view of the thirteenth-century figures on the south porch of Chartres cathedral reveals this artist's expressive use of the limitations of the camera's narrow field of vision and of the propensity of the paper negative to accentuate shadow and soften detail. Beneath a canopy of deep shadow, Saints Martin of Tours, Jerome, and Gregory the Great emerge between a "no littering" sign at the left and a pillar in the right foreground. This angled, partial view is more closely allied to the way one gradually perceives the world than to conventions of artistic description or architectural rendering.
    An account in the May 1, 1852, issue of the photographic journal "La Lumière" reported that Peccarère had gone to Chartres with paper negatives prepared according to Le Gray's method and returned to Paris just one day later with twenty-five exposures--not an inconceivable task for one whose pictorial practice was so closely linked to a natural way of seeing. Once thought "primitive" because of their deviation from pictorial traditions, such pictures are now prized for that very freedom of visual invention.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in negative, TL: "EM. PEC // Chartres, 14"

  • Provenance

    Collection of a French 19th-century academic painter; Louise d'Argencourt; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, Sept. 26, 1989

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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