Charles Dargère Portrait of Onésipe Aguado
Medium Salt print from wet plate negative
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1852 Print Date 1852
Dimensions 6 x 4-7/8 in. (152 x 124 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Signed and dated in pencil in lower right recto of the mount. Titled in pencil at top recto of mount. An important of and by an early photography pioneer.
A wealthy amateur photographer and a familiar figure at the French imperial court, the viscount Onésipe-Gonsalve Aguado de Las Marismas joined the Société Française de Photographie in 1858. With his better-known brother Olympe, a founding member of the society, Onésipe Aguado was among the early makers of photographic enlargements. The two brothers also collaborated on tableaux vivants that depict with wit and playfulness the fads and amusements of elegant society.
His most famous image is probably "The Woman from the Back", which was featured on the cover of "The Waking Dream", the catalogue of the Metropolitan's 1993 exhibition of masterpieces from the Gilman Paper Company Collection. At once a portrait, a fashion plate, and a jest, this fascinating image expresses Aguado's whimsical mood, and is probably an extension of his work on foreshortening. It is strangely devoid of depth, as if the sitter were a two-dimensional cutout, a mere silhouette. The figure brings to mind the compositions of such painters as Caspar David Friedrich and René Magritte, both of whom made haunting use of figures seen from the back.
Charles Dargère (c.1812-c.1860, France) was a native of the valley of Chevreuse and domestic employee of the Duc de Luynes. His photographs often featured furniture recognizable as being from the studio of Olympe and Onesipe Aguado, where he may have worked part-time. He seemed to have been involved in pulling early inked copies from daguerreotypes in the early 1840s for the Duc de Luynes.
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