Défilé sur le Pont-Royal

Marie-Charles-Isidore Choiselat (French, 1815–1858)
Stanislas Ratel (French, 1824–1904)
May 1, 1844
Image: 6 1/16 × 4 7/16 in. (15.4 × 11.3 cm)
Frame: 8 3/4 × 7 1/16 in. (22.3 × 18 cm)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Accession Number:
Not on view
In January 1839 the Romantic painter and printmaker Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787–1851) showed members of the French Académie des Sciences an invention he believed would forever change visual representation: photography. Each daguerreotype (as Daguerre dubbed his invention) is an image produced on a highly polished, silver-plated sheet of copper.

Using an “accelerating liquid” of their own devising, the daguerreotypists Choiselat and Ratel were able to reduce exposure times from minutes to seconds, which allowed them to capture events as they happened. Here the mounted guards stationed along one of Paris’s most famous bridges registered clearly on the daguerreotype plate, but even with a short exposure time the moving crowds and rolling carriages became a blur of activity.
Descendants of the daguerreotypists; [Gérard Lévy]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, September 29, 1989

Musée Carnavalet. "Paris et Le Daguerreotype," October 20, 1990–February 28, 1990.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "As It Happened: Photographs from the Gilman Paper Company Collection," May 7, 2002–August 25, 2002.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paris as Muse: Photography, 1840s – 1930s," January 27, 2014–May 4, 2014.

Bajac, Quentin, and Dominique de Font-Réaulx. Le daguerréotype français: un objet photographique. Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2003. no. 179, p. 267.