Théophile Gautier

Nadar French

Not on view

Ringmaster, publicist, and performer in a highly theatrical life, the legendary Nadar wore many hats–those of journalist, bohemian, left-wing agitator, playwright, caricaturist, and aeronaut. He had success in all these roles, but what he did best was collect a pantheon of friends whom he honored with his generous and perceptive photographic portraits.

The subject of this portrait, Théophile Gautier (1811-1872), was a poet, novelist, and engaging critic of art and literature who also defined the theory of art for art's sake-art pursued for its own intrinsic perfection. In this portrait by his intimate friend, the hirsute and disheveled writer appears in his working clothes, an apt embodiment of Gautier's self-description as "the terror of the bald and beardless bourgeois."

Théophile Gautier, Nadar (French, Paris 1820–1910 Paris), Salted paper print from glass negative

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.