Pierre-Louis Pierson Young Boy from the de Montesquiou Family on His Wooden Horse
Medium Toned silver print
Photo Date 1858 Print Date 1930s
Dimensions 14-1/8 x 11 in. (359 x 279 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Identified in the Mayer & Pierson archives as simply "de Montesquiou" by the negative number on the back of the print. The de Montesquiou's were an old and very important family French nobility. The child in the photograph could very well be the notorious Count Robert de Montesquiou (1855-1921), a Symbolist poet, dandy, and avid art collector, who was fascinated by the Countess di Castiglione. He spent 13 years writing a biography, La Divine Comtesse, which appeared in 1913. He assembled a large collection of her photographs, 275 of which were acquired by the Metropolitan Museum in 1975. Perhaps he met the Comtesse during his session with Pierson as a child, which might have explained his fascination. Or, at the least, his connection with Pierson might have given him access to acquiring the photographs directly.
Another possibility for the sitter was Augustin Hubert Anatole de Montesquiou-Fenzensac, who was born in 1847.
This photograph was actually printed by the Braun studio after one of Pierson's daughters married into the Braun family in 1873 and the two studios united. Apparently, Pierson gave his negatives as a wedding gift. Most other prints are modern ones from the glass plate negative, or ones from the Braun studio like this one. The Braun prints are rare and apparently were made 1900-1930s. The horse is virtually identical to one ridden by the Prince Imperial in another photograph. The outfit is also similar to one worn by the Prince as well.