The J. Paul Getty Museum

Mollien Pavilion, the Louvre

Object Details


Mollien Pavilion, the Louvre


Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820 - 1884)




Paris, France (Place Depicted)




Albumen silver print from a glass negative

Object Number:



36.7 × 47.9 cm (14 7/16 × 18 7/8 in.)

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Object Description

Standing opposite a newly built pavilion of the Louvre, Gustave Le Gray made this photograph when the sun's position allowed him to best capture the details of the heavily ornamented facade, from the fluted columns on the ground level to the figurative group on the nearest gable. Paving stones lead the viewer's eye directly to the corner of the pavilion, where the sunlit facade is further highlighted beside an area blanketed in shadow.

Though the extensive art collections of the Louvre had first been opened to the public in 1793, after the French Revolution, it was not until 1848 that the museum became the property of the state. Le Gray's image shows the exuberance of the architecture undertaken shortly thereafter, during the reign of Napoléon III, when large sections of the building housed government offices.

Gustave Le Gray, Photographer (July 9 to September 29, 2002)
  • Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris), March 18 to June 16, 2002
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 9 to September 29, 2002
In Focus: Architecture (October 15, 2013 to March 2, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 15, 2013 to March 2, 2014
Real / Ideal: Photography in France, 1847-1860 (August 30 to November 27, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), August 30 to November 27, 2016

Baldwin, Gordon. Gustave Le Gray: Photographer, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum), cover ill.

Hellman, Karen, ed. Real/Ideal: Photography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century France, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2016), pl. 61.