The elements of the images are very interesting and include a group of men on the front first floor balcony, a man beside the door reading a newspaper, the unhitched cart in the street, the ladders in a doorway and a group of men in a blur at the far right edge, and the wonderful sculptural architectural details. Marville's blind stamp on the mount reads, Ch Marville photographe, Du Musee Imperial Du Louvre.
The photograph was probably occasioned by the opening of the new theater building, which was finished in 1868. This new building was built on Boulevard des Capucines, at the corner of Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin, in the 9th arrondissement near the Opera. The theater was officially inaugurated on April 23, 1869. One of the characters on the balcony is undoubtedly the architect, Auguste Magne (1816-1885). The buildings were built at the same time. The building that the theater had been using near the Bourse was demolished in 1869.
Charles Marville was a French photographer and illustrator. He first worked as an illustrator in the medium of wood-engraving and was associated with Tony Johannot. With the writer Charles Nodier (1780–1844) and publishers such as Curmer and Bourdin he took part in the creation of great Romantic illustrated editions of such works as Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. He was, however, primarily a landscape artist known as an illustrator of travel books. By 1851 he had become a photographer, concentrating on religious sites and religious architecture, particularly for Louis-Désiré Blanquart-Evrard, who published about 100 of his calotypes. He worked for the Louvre and reproduced drawings by major French and Italian artists. Collaborating with architects such as Paul Abadie, he photographed the different stages of construction or of restoration of civil and religious monuments. He also photographed the new Bois de Boulogne.
Marville’s most accomplished work was the album of about 400 images of roads condemned by Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann's restructuring of Paris, for example Rue des Prêtres-St-Séverin (5e Arrondissement) (albumen print, c. 1865; Paris, Carnavalet). At the request of the municipality, he took a systematic census of them before their demolition . Ten years later, he returned to the same sites where he was again commissioned to photograph the new main roads in order to present Haussmann’s Paris at the Exposition Universelle of 1878.
There is another print of this image in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
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Medium Albumen print from wet collodion negative
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1868 Print Date 1868c
Dimensions 13-1/4 x 10-3/8 in. (337 x 264 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.