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This and the following 13 lots (lots 1-14) were for decades in a private French collection. This collection was principally a library of rare books but included a number of works on paper, reflecting the owner's wide range of interests.
FELIX TEYNARD'S EGYPT & NUBIA
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF A FRENCH COLLECTOR
Felix Teynard, a civil engineer from Grenoble, travelled to Egypt and Nubia in 1851-52 and photographed there using the calotype process. He produced a collection of images as souvenirs, from which a comprehensive series of 160 plates was published by Goupil in Paris in 1858 -- six years after he returned from Egypt -- as Egypte et Nubie. Sites et monuments les plus intéressants pour l'étude de l'art et de l'histoire. Atlas photographié accompagné de plans et d'une table explicative servant de complément à la Grande Description de l'Egypte. These photographs of his travel along the Nile and a few images made near Grenoble are the only known photographic works he produced and none are known to have been exhibited at the time. The group of salt prints offered in the following 14 lots include four unpublished and unrecorded images from his journey which were not included in the 1992 Catalogue Raisonné.
While Teynard photographed many of the same monuments and sites as his closest contemporary Maxime Du Camp had in 1849-52, their results are remarkably different. Commissioned by the French Ministry of Public Education to photograph in Egypt, Nubia and the Holy Land, Du Camp embraced a scientific approach to his photographic mission and produced over 200 negatives as precise documents, preferring frontal views and often using one of his boatmen in the image for scale. Teynard, on the other hand, was driven by a personal vision and created images exuding emotional power. In The Art of French Calotype, André Jammes and Eugenia Parry Janis write, 'Teynard's work of large format is the record of stunned emotion, pure vision and a freedom of the senses rarely so forcibly expressed in early photography. His work is an abstract record of Egypt discovered by the eye.' (Princeton, 1983, p.249) Unlike Du Camp, Teynard preferred photographing from oblique angles and never used human figures for scale. His main obsession was the manipulation of the harsh Egyptian sun to create deep shadows in his compositions. Teynard's expressive style was his own and his photographs reveal a propensity for abstract effects of light and shadow over an accurate depiction of a site.
Of the 15 large-format prints offered in the following 14 lots, some noteworthy observations can be made. Ten prints out of the 15 are untrimmed and loose; the other four are trimmed and mounted on blue card. Of the 14 images, including a duplicate pair, ten were published in Egypte et Nubie and the other four were not included in the publication. And all eight of the untrimmed prints of the published images show the plate numbers, as well as cropping lines in the negatives. These findings suggest that these photographs were reference prints, made by Teynard as a personal record. Comparing the published images with thier uncropped and unretouched versions provides further insight into Teynard's artistic sensibilites.
For a detailed account of Teynard's photographic work, see: Félix Teynard: Calotypes of Egypt A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, London & Carmel, 1992.
Félix Teynard: Calotypes of Egypt, New York, London & Carmel, 1992, pl.11, p.163, for the published variant without borders and cropped along edges.