Image: 24.4 x 30.6 cm (9 5/8 x 12 1/16 in.) Mount: 40.4 x 52.2 cm (15 7/8 x 20 9/16 in.)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, William Talbott Hillman Foundation Gift, 2005
Not on view
By the time Teynard set out for Egypt with a large-format camera, he was thoroughly accomplished in the waxed-paper negative technique, which had been perfected only the year before in Paris by Gustave Le Gray. One of the drawbacks of using paper negatives was that the paper fibers softened the picture's resolution. The best practitioners of the technique, however, turned its faults to advantage and organized their pictures around masses of deep shadow and suffused light, recognizing that a few well-chosen details could give dramatic relief to architectonic structures. This photograph is a masterpiece of the genre. It represents a Middle Kingdom rock-cut tomb at Beni-Hasan (ca. 1900 b.c.), 105 miles upriver from Cairo. Within the bold composition of light and dark, Teynard placed the delicate form of a European bentwood cane against the column. Like a surveyor's measure, the cane indicates scale. It also functions as Teynard's personal signature, but unlike the graffiti to the right, it was temporary and did not deface the monument.
Inscription: Letterpress on mount, recto TC: "ÉGYPTE"; BC: "BÉNI HAÇAN // ARCHITECTURE HYPOGÉENNE - TOMBEAU D'AMONEI // Pl.13"; Below image L to R :"Imp. Phot. de H. de Fonteny et Cie. f. à Paris en 1851. r. St. Nicolas d' Antin, 72. Félix Teynard. Publié par Goupil et Cie. éditeurs, Paris, Londres, Berlin, New-York."; Inscribed in pencil on mount, verso BL: "3/22/82 // 4/11/83 1/10/84"
[Lunn Gallery, Washington, D.C.]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, February 12, 1982
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 25, 1993–July 4, 1993.
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," August 7, 1993–October 2, 1993.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," June 19, 1994–September 11, 1994.
Carrousel du Louvre, Paris. "Constructed Views: Photography and Architecture," November 19, 1998–November 23, 1998.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Along the Nile: Early Photographs of Egypt," September 11, 2001–December 30, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Master Photographs from the Gilman Collection: A Landmark Acquisition," June 28, 2005–September 6, 2005.
Apraxine, Pierre. Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company. Reeds Springs, Mo.: White Oak Press, 1985. p. 13.
Howe, Kathleen Stewart. Félix Teynard, Calotypes of Egypt: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York: Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs, 1992. p. 164.
Hambourg, Maria Morris, Pierre Apraxine, Malcolm Daniel, Virginia Heckert, and Jeff L. Rosenheim. The Waking Dream: Photography's First Century, Selections from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. p. 297.