Exhibitions/ Art Object

Taj Mahal

Artist:
John Murray (British, Blackhouse, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 1809–1898 Sheringham, Norfolk county, England)
Date:
ca. 1855
Medium:
Waxed paper negative
Dimensions:
39.3 x 46.5 cm (15 1/2 x 18 5/16 in.)
Classification:
Negatives
Credit Line:
The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee and Lila Acheson Wallace Gifts, 1997
Accession Number:
1997.382.58
Not on view
With unique authority, the camera offered nineteenth-century European viewers and armchair travellers a glimpse of the exotic, far-flung corners of the British Empire. Dr. John Murray, employed in the medical service of the Army of the East India Company, took up photography in the early 1850s.
At a time when photographic emulsions were not equally sensitive to all colors of the spectrum, most photographers found it impossible to achieve proper exposure of both landscape and sky in a single picture. For instance, if the negative was properly exposed for buildings, the sky would often appear faded and blotchy. Murray solved this problem by blacking out the sky on his waxed paper negative so that, when printed, the heavens above the Taj Mahal would appear limpid and radiant.
John Murray, grandson of the photographer; [Sean Thackrey, San Francisco]; Rubel Collection; [Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Fine Photography, New York]

Achenbach Graphic Arts Council. "Masterworks of Photography from the Rubel Collection," January 1, 1984–February 1, 1984.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," February 11, 1989–April 30, 1989.

Canberra. National Gallery of Australia. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," June 17, 1989–August 27, 1989.

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," September 23, 1989–December 23, 1989.

Canadian Centre for Architecture. "Monuments of India: Photographs and the Making of History," May 14, 2003–September 28, 2003.

Canadian Centre for Architecture. "Traces of India," May 14, 2003–September 14, 2003.

Yale Center for British Art, Yale University. "Monuments of India: Photographs and the Making of History," October 16, 2003–January 11, 2004.

Yale Center for British Art, Yale University. "Traces of India," October 16, 2003–January 11, 2004.

Fowler Museum at UCLA. "Traces of India," March 7, 2004–July 4, 2004.

Weaver, Mike. The Art of Photography 1839-1989. London: Yale University Press, 1989. pl. 132.

Weaver, Mike, ed. The Art of Photography, 1839–1989. New Haven: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1989. no. 132.

Daniel, Malcolm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin: Inventing a New Art: Early Photographs from the Rubel Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art 56, no. 4 (Spring 1999). p. 51.



Sky blocked out with black pigment
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