Adrien Tournachon French

Not on view

Because Adrien Tournachon's photography was enmeshed with that of his brother Félix (Nadar) from the beginning, and because the reports we have of his activities are principally the derogatory ones Félix made after the brothers' disagreement, Adrien's work has been largely dismissed. Clearly envious of the success of his charismatic older brother, Adrien appears to have been unreliable and manipulative, and alternately querulous and boastful. But despite an unfortunate character he possessed real talent, as witnessed by this striking self-portrait.
The photograph represents Adrien at about age thirty, when he was attempting to rival his brother. It shows a sensitive and curiously sly man--a poseur in an artist's sketching hat and smock. Disarming in its casualness, the portrait is also seductive, perhaps because the unforthcoming person who regards the viewer is simultaneously withholding and engaging--and consequently an enigmatic repository for reveries.

[Self-Portrait], Adrien Tournachon (French, 1825–1903), Salted paper print from glass negative

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