Louis-Émile Durandelle The Stone Sculptor: Le Nouvel Opera de Paris, Sculpture Ornementale
Medium Albumen print from wet plate negative
Mount on original printed mount
Photo Date 1868c Print Date 1875
Dimensions 14-5/8 x 11 in. (373 x 280 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
A very rich print of this key photograph. Provenance: Galerie Texbraun.
With title, publisher (Ducher et Cie, Editeurs), and photographer credits in letterpress on the recto of the mount. Two numbers are in the negative (No. 40 and No. 160). The largest, best known and most sought-after Durandelle image of the New Paris Opera.
See: Maton and Garcia, Les Chef-d'Oeuvre de la Photographie dans les Collections of the l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, p.92-93; Frizot, et. al., A New History of Photography, p.222; Borcoman, Eugene Atget 1857-1927, fig.34; Goldschmidt and Naef, The Truthful Lens: A Survey of the Photographically Illustrated Book 1844-1914, The Grolier Club, New York, 1980; Miquel, Le Second Empire: Trésors de la photographie, p.116; Haworth-Booth, One hundred photographs: A collection by Bruce Bernard, p.111.
Durandelle's portfolio is considered to be the definitive work on the Opera at Paris, 'the most exuberant building of its time' (Dictionary of Art, XII, p. 156).
A relative unknown, Charles Garnier won the competition to build the Opera in 1861 as an expression of the wealth and power of Napoleon III's Second Empire. Construction commenced immediately, employing over 90 painters and sculptors for its lavish decorative program alone, and it was completed--under the Third Republic--in 1875.
The celebrated French architectural photographer Durandelle recorded its construction in 'photographs which are a milestone in the use of the medium for extended architectural documentation. They count among the most splendid examples of 19th-century architectural photography.' (C. Phillips, The Construction of the Paris Opéra, exhibition at ICP, New York, 2001).