This exhibition is the first devoted exclusively to the career of Auguste Salzmann (1824–1872), the French academic painter, archaeologist, and photographer who, in 1853, embarked on the arduous journey from Paris to Jerusalem. Hoping to verify religious faith through the objective documentation of the city's holy sites, he turned to photography, creating one of the most enigmatic bodies of work of the 19th century.
Despite a high-caliber photographic oeuvre of great variation and creativity, Salzmann remains relatively unknown. Some three dozen rare salted paper prints from paper negatives have been selected from his influential 1856 album, Jerusalem: A Study and Photographic Reproduction of the Monuments of the Holy City. All the works are in the Gilman Collection of The Met's Department of Photographs.
Auguste Salzmann (French, 1824–1872). Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Details of the Capitals, 1854. Salted paper print from paper negative. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gilman Collection, Gift of the Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005 (2005.100.373.86)