Jacques-Joseph Ebelman on his Deathbed

Louis-Rémy Robert French

Not on view

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.

Jacques-Joseph Ebelman on his Deathbed, Louis-Rémy Robert (French, 1810–1882), Waxed paper negative

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