Étude de nuages

Gustave Le Gray French

Not on view

Le Gray’s majestic marine views created an international sensation when they were first exhibited in London and Paris. At a time when camera exposures often lasted for several seconds, viewers were amazed by Le Gray’s ability to freeze the motion of breaking waves, and the perfectly backlit clouds drifting above reinforced the feeling of spontaneity. That the clouds and waves were printed from two separate negatives remained the artist’s secret during his lifetime. Although Le Gray never publicly acknowledged his method, he did leave some inadvertent clues in the pictures themselves. Here, the same dramatic cloud formation floats above two different beaches—one in Normandy, the other two along France’s Mediterranean coast.

Étude de nuages, Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820–1884), Albumen silver print from glass negatives

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.