Jérusalem, Vallée de Josaphat, Tombeau de St. Jacques
Auguste Salzmann (French, 1824–1872)
Imprimerie photographique de Blanquart-Évrard, à Lille (French, active 1851–55)
Salted paper print from paper negative
Image: 23.3 x 31.7 cm (9 3/16 x 12 1/2 in.)
Mount: 44.6 x 59.7 cm (17 9/16 x 23 1/2 in.)
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Not on view
Ridiculed by fellow scholars for contending that many architectural fragments examined on an 1850 expedition to Jerusalem dated from the period of David and Solomon, archaeologist Félicien Caignart de Saulcy was further accused of having provided fanciful and inaccurate site drawings to support his thesis. Salzmann, an artist and archaeologist, entered this scholarly fray in late 1853, setting off for Jerusalem to study and photograph the disputed monuments; after four months' work, he returned to Paris with nearly 175 negatives, which he published as Jérusalem: Étude et reproduction photographique des monuments de la ville sainte depuis l'époque judaïque jusqu'à nos jours (1856). This view shows one of the three ancient tombs dating from the second to first century B.C. cut into bedrock on the eastern slope of the Kidron valley, also called the "Valley of Josaphat," near the Mount of Olives. The conclusive power of Salzmann's photographs was self-evident, and De Saulcy declared himself vindicated by the sun itself, "a most able draftsman, in truth, and one whose good faith would be difficult to question."
Inscription: Printed on mount, recto BC: "Aug. Salzmann // JÉRUSALEM // VALLÉE DE JOSAPHAT // Tombeau de Saint Jacques // Gide et J. Baudry, éditeurs. // Imp. Photogr. de Blanquart - Evrard, à Lille."; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto TR: "45"; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto BL: "117"; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto BR: "IV"; stamped in blue ink on mount, verso TR: "[circle with two illegible words and " Exportation PARIS" in the center]"; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso TR: "G"; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso BR: "x"
André Jammes Collection, Paris; [Graphics International, Ltd., Washington, D.C.]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, October 7, 1978
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sight Unseen: Photographs from the Gilman Collection".
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Faith and Photography: Auguste Salzmann in the Holy Land," September 12, 2016–February 5, 2017.
Perez, Nissan. "An Artist in Jerusalem: Auguste Salzmann." The Israel Museum Journal 1 (Spring 1982). pp. 19–50.
In 1854, Auguste Salzmann created approximately two hundred paper negatives during a four-month sojourn in Jerusalem. He recorded sixty-eight sites and categorized them, with some exceptions, by monotheistic religion—Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. Many of the resulting salted paper prints were circulated privately soon after his return to Paris. In 1856, the album, Jerusalem: A Study and Photographic Reproduction of the Holy City, was first advertised as a commercial endeavor for a wider public. Photographic plates were distributed three at a time over fifty-eight installments from September 1856 through 1859. All of Salzmann’s Jerusalem photographs were printed by the preeminent Blanquart-Évrard firm of Lille, France, while their distribution was managed by Gide et Baudry of Paris. Each album was meant to include two volumes of photographic plates accompanied by an archaeological treatise authored by Salzmann. The album in The Met collection is complete with 174 unbound photographic plates.