Théophile Gautier

Object Details


Théophile Gautier


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




Paris, France (Place created)


about 1856


Salted paper print


25.7 x 19.7 cm (10 1/8 x 7 3/4 in.)

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Theophile Gautier here embodies the image of the Romantic poet. He sports an elegant cap of damask cloth trimmed with braid, and his shaggy beard and hair seem to grow right into his furry overcoat. He gazes thoughtfully away from the camera, solemn and erect, with his hand thrust into his waistcoat.

Gautier was a poet and journalist who championed the concept of "art for art's sake," that is, that art need serve no other purpose than to exist for its own achievement. He later softened his approach, explaining that, "smitten in my youngest years with painting and sculpture, I became a delirious lover of art…." Gautier and Nadar were lifelong friends. As editor of the journal L'Artiste, Gautier published many of Nadar's photographs, including an engraving after this portrait in 1859.

Another version of this image, an edition print of the kind that Nadar offered for sale in his studio, was trimmed to an oval.

On the Art of Fixing a Shadow: 150 Years of Photography (May 7, 1989 to February 25, 1990)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), May 7 to July 30, 1989
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, September 9 to November 26, 1989
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles), December 29, 1989 to February 25, 1990
Fame and Photography (March 9 to May 23, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), March 9 to May 23, 1993
Nadar (June 6, 1994 to July 9, 1995)
  • Musée d'Orsay (Paris), June 6 to September 11, 1994
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), April 3 to July 9, 1995
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
Photographers of Genius (March 16 to July 25, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16 to July 25, 2004

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. 62.