Félix–Jacques–Antoine Moulin (French, 1802after 1875)
Daguerreotype; 5 11/16 x 4 3/8 in. (14.5 x 11.1 cm) visible
The Rubel Collection, Purchase, Anonymous Gift and Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1997 (1997.382.46)
Although Moulin was sentenced in 1851 to a month in jail for producing images that, according to court papers, were "so obscene that even to pronounce the titles would be to commit an indecency," this daguerreotype seems more allied to art than to erotica. Absent are the boudoir props, gaudy jewelry, and provocative poses typical of handcolored pornographic daguerreotypes and the stiffly held classical poses of photographic "academies" ostensibly intended for artists as substitutes for the live model. Instead, Moulin depicted these two young women utterly at ease, as unselfconscious in their nudity as Botticelli's Venus.