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Object Details




Nadar [Gaspard Félix Tournachon] (French, 1820 - 1910)




1855 - 1859


Salted paper print


19.2 x 15.6 cm (7 9/16 x 6 1/8 in.)

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In Nadar's portrait, the society painter Alexis Pérignon exudes a well-dressed prosperity slightly at odds with his weary expression. In 1856 he was decorated with the Legion of Honor, whose insignia he appears to wear on his outer lapel.

Nadar's portrait of Pérignon bears scant resemblance to the painter's own work, save for his elaborate wardrobe. He is sad-eyed, his expression nearly plaintive, and he has no illusions about the image of gentle fatigue he will present. Although not impatient, he perhaps wished the photographic process were over--despite its brevity when compared to the multiple sittings required for his portrait paintings. By sitting for Nadar, Pérignon perhaps tacitly recognized the power of photography to endanger and supplant his own field of endeavor.

A History of Photography from California Collections (February 9 to April 30, 1989)
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, (San Francisco), February 9 to April 30, 1989
Nadar/Warhol: Paris/New York (July 20, 1999 to May 28, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 20 to October 10, 1999
  • The Andy Warhol Museum, (Pittsburgh), November 6, 1999 to January 30, 2000
  • The Baltimore Museum of Art, (Baltimore), March 12 to May 28, 2000

Baldwin, Gordon, and Judith Keller. Nadar Warhol: Paris New York: Photography and Fame. Introduction by Richard Brilliant. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1999) p. 115.