Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's London, March 8, 1974, lot 55, to Samuel J. Wagstaff, Jr.]
1974 - 1984
Samuel Wagstaff, Jr., American, 1921 - 1987, sold to J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.
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Not currently on view
[The Boulevards of Paris]
William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800 - 1877)
Paris, France (Place Created)
Salted paper print
16.4 × 21.4 cm (6 7/16 × 8 7/16 in.)
The fundamental virtue of the daguerreotype was seen as its perfect capture of details. In 1843 William Henry Fox Talbot boldly ventured into the home territory of his rival, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, to prove that the calotype could do the same. He carefully selected a hotel room in the center of Paris near the present Place de l’Opéra whose windows had a commanding view over the city. His description of this scene, the second plate in The Pencil of Nature, Talbot’s 1844-46 illustrated treatise on photography, was the most complete of any in his text:
“The spectator is looking to the North-east. The time is the afternoon. The sun is just quitting the range of buildings adorned with columns: its façade is already in the shade, but a single shutter standing open projects far enough forward to catch a gleam of sunshine. The weather is hot and dusty, and they have just been watering the road, which has produced two broad bands of shade upon it, which unite in the foreground, because, the road being partially under repair (as is seen from the two wheelbarrows, &c. &c.), the watering machines have been compelled to cross to the other side.”
Perhaps most marvelous of all to Talbot was the fact that “a whole forest of chimneys borders the horizon: for, the instrument chronicles whatever it sees, and certainly would delineate a chimney-pot or a chimney-sweeper with the same impartiality as it would the Apollo of Belvedere.”
Talbot’s Paris Townhouses with Carriages, also in the Getty Collection, offers another perspective of a Parisian street.
Larry Schaaf, William Henry Fox Talbot, In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2002), 72. ©2002 J. Paul Getty Trust.
Schaaf, Larry J. William Henry Fox Talbot. In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002), p. 72, pl. 33.
Martineau, Paul. The Thrill of the Chase: the Wagstaff collection of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2016), p. 51, pl. 3.
Lesson in which students create pinhole cameras, analyze a nineteenth-century photograph, and use their cameras to capture buildings.
Visual Arts; Science
Lesson in which students create pinhole cameras. They analyze a photograph and shoot and develop photographs made with pinhole cameras.
Visual Arts; Science