[Young Woman with Elbow Resting on Small Pile of Books and Head on Hand]


Not on view

The daguerreotype, the first photographic process, was invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (French, 1787–1851) and spread rapidly around the world after its presentation to the public in Paris in 1839. Exposed in a camera obscura and developed in mercury vapors, each highly polished silvered copper plate is a unique photograph that, when viewed in proper light, exhibits extraordinary detail and three-dimensionality. The daguerreotype soon became extremely popular in the United States, where in the 1840s and 1850s thousands of daguerreotypists vied for clients from Boston and New York to San Francisco. The new medium’s success here was built upon the patronage of the average citizen who desired a simple likeness to keep or, perhaps, to send to a loved one in the era’s most enduring pledge of friendship.

[Young Woman with Elbow Resting on Small Pile of Books and Head on Hand], Unknown (American), Daguerreotype with applied color

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