Mme. Ernestine Nadar
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French, 1854 - 1855
Salt print
9 3/4 x 6 3/4 in.

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She pouts, she scowls: she is Nadar's wife, Ernestine, displaying the universally recognizable "I don't want my picture taken" expression familiar to anyone who has photographed a reluctant subject. But there is affection behind the defiantly crossed arms and the body she haughtily turns away from the photographer's demands. This portrait was made when Nadar was just starting out as a photographer, either just after his and Ernestine's engagement or just after their wedding. Ernestine Lefèvre was eighteen years old to Nadar's thirty-four; she was a middle-class girl from Normandy, and he was a bohemian Parisian artist who socialized with painters, writers, and actors. Whatever her thoughts were when this portrait was made, their relationship was apparently a successful one: they had been married for fifty-four years at Ernestine's death.