Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • [Female nude, reclining, with arm raised (#1940)], ca. 1853
    Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (French, 1795–1866)
    Salted paper print from paper negative; 4 5/8 x 6 5/16 in. (11.8 x 16 cm)
    Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1993 (1993.69.1)

    [Female nude, standing (#1936)], ca. 1853
    Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (French, 1795–1866)
    Salted paper print from paper negative; 4 3/4 x 6 5/16 in. (12 x 16 cm)
    Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1993 (1993.69.2)

    [Female nude, reclining, profile (#1019)], ca. 1853
    Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (French, 1795–1866)
    Salted paper print from paper negative; 4 7/16 x 6 1/8 in. (11.2 x 15.5 cm)
    Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1993 (1993.69.3)

    Between 1851 and 1855, Julien Vallou de Villeneuve, earlier a student of Millet and a lithographer of scenes of daily life, costume, and erotica, made a series of small-scale photographs of female nudes which he marketed as models for artists. Despite a long artistic tradition and an obvious delight in the female nude, decorum in mid-nineteenth-century France required that the subject be removed from the reality of the present—shown in mythological guise (Cabanel's Birth of Venus, for example) or as an exotic creature, distant and nonthreatening. The need to provide a legitimizing context for the depiction of the nude was particularly true in photography, and Vallou's nudes are often appointed with the paraphernalia of the painter's studio—rugs, shawls, spears, beads, anklets, and turbans. His most successful pictures, however, are those least encumbered by artificial trappings; hiding less, and borrowing less from tradition, these are the most poetic.

    Vallou's nudes have long been associated with those of Gustave Courbet, who is known to have used photographs in his painting process. Although no absolute one-to-one correspondence can be demonstrated, the heavy soporific quality of Vallou's models is very close to Courbet's concept of the nude, and this particular image is strikingly similar in pose to the painter's Woman with a Parrot of 1866 (29.100.57).

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  • [Female nude, reclining, with arm raised (#1940)], ca. 1853
    Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (French, 1795–1866)
    Salted paper print from paper negative; 4 5/8 x 6 5/16 in. (11.8 x 16 cm)
    Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1993 (1993.69.1)

    [Female nude, standing (#1936)], ca. 1853
    Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (French, 1795–1866)
    Salted paper print from paper negative; 4 3/4 x 6 5/16 in. (12 x 16 cm)
    Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1993 (1993.69.2)

    [Female nude, reclining, profile (#1019)], ca. 1853
    Julien Vallou de Villeneuve (French, 1795–1866)
    Salted paper print from paper negative; 4 7/16 x 6 1/8 in. (11.2 x 15.5 cm)
    Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1993 (1993.69.3)

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