Image: 16.9 x 11.9 cm (6 5/8 x 4 11/16 in.)
Mount: 23.4 x 17.3 cm (9 3/16 x 6 13/16 in.)
Frame: 35.6 x 27.9 cm (14 x 11 in.)
Collection of Christophe Goeury
Not on view
Around the turn of the twentieth century, decapitation was a hugely popular theme among photographers, stage magicians, and early filmmakers such as Georges Méliès. This photograph of a bearded gentleman tenderly inflating an enlarged duplicate of his own head with a bicycle pump graced the cover of the amateur photography magazine Photo Pêle-Mêle in 1903. Apparently, balloon heads were in the air in Belle Époque Paris. Two years earlier, Méliès had produced a short film, L’homme à la tête de caoutchouc (The Man with the Rubber Head, 1901), in which a scientist inflates a replica of his own head with a bellows.
Inscription: Written on mount in unknown hand in ink, recto BL and BR: "Juin 99 Un coup de pompe .... S.V.P. // Atelier de Fonenay -/- Boil. // Cliché primê et parn dont le "PÊLE-MÊle" le 20 Aout 1899" and in pencil, recto BR: "112".
Sent Christophe Goeury an email inquiring about provenance on April 11, 2012. Awaiting response. [See copy of email]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," October 10, 2012–January 27, 2013.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," February 17, 2013–May 5, 2013.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop," June 2, 2013–August 25, 2013.
Fineman, Mia. Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. no. 131, pp. 131, 235.