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Le Nouvel Opéra de Paris, Sculpture Ornamentale, circa 1870

Le Nouvel Opéra de Paris, Sculpture Ornamentale, circa 1870
albumen print
printed Durandelle/Ducher et Cie. credits, title and stamped number '12' (mount)
image 10¼ x 15 1/8in. (26 x 38.3cm.)
mount 17¾ x 24¾in. (45 x 63cm.)

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Alexander Montague-Sparey
Alexander Montague-Sparey

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Lot Essay

'These large-format albumen prints [circa 1864-1869] enable the viewer to follow the progress of architect Charles Garnier's lavish Opera. Remarkable for their wealth of informational detail, the photographs are a milestone in the use of the medium for extended architectual documentation. They also provide a crucial stylistic link between the work of ealier French urban photographers, such as Charles Marville and Edouard Baldus, and the later photographs of Eugen Atget.' - C. Phillips, International Center for Photography, 2001
From probably the early 1860's , Durandelle was an associate of Hyacinthe César Delamaet (1828-1862). The pair specialised not only in portraiture but in the 'reproduction artistique industrielle et commerciale tels que Bronzes, Tableaux, Dessins, Cristaux, etc.' When Delamaet died, Durandelle went into business with his widow, Clémence, and soon also married her. He was to become one of the premier photographers of grand construction projects in the 19th century. All the evidence suggests that Durandelle was the principal photographer of the firm, certainly on epic archaeological digs at the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. The pair's Parisian studios were successively located at 30-32 chauseée de Clignancourt, 22 boulevard des Filles-du-Calvaire and 4 rue du Faubourg Montmartre.
Charles Garnier was the architect of the new Paris Opera which Durandelle painstakingly photographed over many years. Many of Durandelle's startling images of individual sculpture, particularly of items incorporated into Garnier's edifice, have evoked comments as to the modernism of ostensibly documentary imagery. Some time after his wife died, in around 1886, Durandelle gave his Montmartre studio over to his assistant, Paul-Joseph-Albert Chevojon.

Gift of Ken and Jenny Jacobson.

More from Photographs - 1840's to the Present. Sold to support the new London Media Space at The Science Museum

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