[Still life of fowl, bird with dark feathers on belly]
Longjumeau's Amateur French
Not on view
Dead game birds are strung against an austere background or propped carelessly on a carved table; seemingly artless, these scenes nevertheless convey a dark beauty that is matched by the velvety tones of the rich albumen prints in which the birds have been caught and forever stilled by an anonymous photographer. Known only as the "Amateur of Longjumeau," after one of the regions of France where the images were made, the creator of these pictures ostensibly worked for the pleasure gained from making images. The prints were not editioned, sold, or exhibited. Notably different from the more decorative compositions that perhaps inspired them, such as the still lifes of Charles Nègre (2005.100.314) and Adolphe Braun (47.149.53), these bold pictures seem more modern by comparison.