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Jewish Sarcophagus, Jerusalem

Auguste Salzmann (French, 1824–1872)

Louis-Désiré Blanquart-Évrard (French, 1802–1872)
Salted paper print from paper negative
23.3 x 32.7 cm (9 3/16 x 12 7/8 in.)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Ridiculed by fellow scholars for contending that many architectural fragments examined on an 1850 expedition to Jerusalem dated from the period of David and Solomon, Félicien Caignart de Saulcy was further accused of having provided fanciful and inaccurate site drawings to support his thesis. Auguste Salzmann, an artist and archaeologist, entered this scholarly fray late in 1853, setting off for Jerusalem to study and photograph the disputed monuments; after four months' work, he returned to Paris with at least 150 negatives. For Salzmann, the conclusive power of his photographs was self-evident; simple examination of the visual evidence they provided proved de Saulcy correct. With obvious satisfaction, de Saulcy wrote of having been vindicated by "a most able draftsman, in truth, and one whose good faith would be difficult to question, . . . the sun."
    In contrast to the more generalized architectural views produced by other exploratory photographers in the Middle East, Salzmann's photographs often depict planar masonry surfaces or isolated architectural details. Although guided in his understanding of light and texture by his artistic training, Salzmann chose his subjects and vantage points to fulfill a scholarly, scientific mission; the results are often appealing to the modern eye for their minimalism and for their divergence from artistic convention.
    Salzmann's photographs of Jerusalem were printed in 1854 for private distribution and published for commercial sale two years later under the title "Jérusalem: Étude et reproduction photographique des monuments de la ville sainte depuis l'époque judaïque jusqu'à nos jours." The 1856 edition, from which this print is taken, included 174 plates and an accompanying text.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in negative, recto BL: "53."; printed on mount, recto BC: "Aug. Salzmann // JÉRUSALEM // SARCOPHAGE JUDAÏQUE // Gide et J. Baudry, éditeurs. // Imp. Photogr. de Blanquart - Evrard, à Lille."; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto TR: " 71 "; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso TL: "Salzmann–"; remaining inscriptions TK

  • Provenance

    André Jammes Collection; [Graphics International, Ltd.]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, October 7, 1978

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History