Exhibitions/ Art Object

Cloister of Saint-Trophîme, Arles

Édouard Baldus (French, born Prussia, 1813–1889)
Salted paper print from paper negatives with applied media
Image: 44.8 x 50.2 cm (17 5/8 x 19 3/4 in.)
Frame: 63.5 x 83.8 cm (25 x 33 in.)
Credit Line:
Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine (Distr. RMN), Charenton-le-Pont, France
Not on view
At the Romanesque church of Saint-Trophime in Arles, Baldus used his cut-and-paste technique to construct a view of an ornately carved, barrel-vaulted cloister. Baldus made about a dozen exposures of the cloister, each focused and properly exposed for its portion of the scene. He then cut and joined the negatives along the contours of columns and cornices, yielding a print with visible seams that he retouched with ink. He also used brush and ink to retouch the negatives themselves, clarifying details and painting in sections of stonework. The result is a paradoxical document, at once meticulously faithful to its subject and thoroughly fabricated.
In 1851, Baldus made this photograph while working for the Historic Monuments Commission, a French government agency. It was the first government-sponsored photographic survey, referred to as the missions heliographiques. This work is still owned by the government and is held at the Médiathèque de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine. This work was in the collection of the Musee National des Monuments, Francais, Paris, but in 1994 the collection was handed over to the Direction du Patrimoine, of which the Mediatheque is a part. Reproduced in Malcolm Daniel's exhibition catalogue, "The photographs of Édouard Baldus," (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Distributed by H.N. Abrams, 1994), plate 1. This print was in the exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, October 3-December 31, 1994.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," October 10, 2012–January 27, 2013.

Fineman, Mia. Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. no. 20, pp. 44, 210.