Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • Jacques–Joseph Ebelman on His Deathbed, 1852
    Louis–Rémy Robert (French, 1810–1882)
    Waxed–paper negative; 7 1/2 x 9 5/8 in. (19 x 24.5 cm)
    Purchase, Hite Foundation Gift, 2000 (2000.235)

    This paper negative, from the collection of Robert's descendants, shows Jacques-Joseph Ebelmen, director of the Sèvres porcelain factory, on his deathbed March 31, 1852. From its inception, photography was enlisted to record the faces of the deceased—it was, in effect, a new type of death mask. As the antipode to proper representation of the living world, the negative is particularly appropriate for a depiction of death. In it, Ebelmen's head—with pallid skin and white hair—rests on black pillows, and the slight solarization of the negative suggests a spiritual aura.

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  • Jacques-Joseph Ebelman on His Deathbed, 1852
    Louis-Rémy Robert (French, 1810–1882)
    Waxed-paper negative; 7 1/2 x 9 5/8 in. (19 x 24.5 cm)
    Purchase, Hite Foundation Gift, 2000 (2000.235)

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