Jean-Francois Limet L'Appel aux Armes by Auguste Rodin
Medium Toned silver print
Photo Date 1905c Print Date 1905c
Dimensions 15-1/2 x 11-5/8 in. (394 x 295 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Title in pencil in unknown hand. The print has been described inaccurately as a carbon print.
In 1900, after Rodin and his photographer of the period, Eugène Druet, had temporarily fallen out while preparing for the exhibition in the Pavillon de l'Alma, Jean Francois Limet, another amateur photographer and the patinator of Rodin's bronzes, was commissioned by Rodin to take the photographs to be published in his catalogue. The remarkable fruits of Limet's investigations into color can be seen in his bichromated-gelatin prints. Limet's photographs of Rodin's sculptures show the surface of the work with particular luminosity.
In 1895, the Monument to the Burghers of Calais was unveiled in their home city. Circa 1904, the sculptor asked Jean Limet, a painter by trade who had become the appointed patinator of his bronzes, to photograph the group: "very low, to let the public penetrate the heart of the subject, as in church entombments, where the group is almost on ground level." Limet photographed the Burghers from behind, to create the illusion of a procession, in keeping with the contemporary trend away from realistic photography towards an Impressionistic vision. The new theories of the Pictorialist school defended personal interpretation and participation. From then on, the photographer was regarded as an artist in his own right.
The graininess of the bichromated-gelatin print and the radiographic effects that Limet obtained enabled him to dematerialize the contours and introduce color into the sculpture. To tone his photographs, he used almost the same products as those he employed for his patinas. He thus obtained multiple variations in tone that contribute to the impact of these photographs of the Burghers walking to their death like an army of ghosts.
Limet also took a series of photographs of Isadora Duncan dancing in honor of Rodin in 1903, some of which are in the Rodin Museum in Paris. His work is quite scarce.
Provenance: Archives Rudier, Vente aux enche?res du 22 Juin 2003, Succession de Madame Raymond Subes, Cha?teau de La Motte a? Saint Lye La Fore?t. The Rudiers ran an art foundry that worked mainly for Auguste Rodin.
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