Varin Freres Shipbuilding in La Rochelle
Medium Paper negative
Photo Date 1853 Print Date 1853
Dimensions 5-1/8 x 6-11/16 in. (130 x 170 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
One of the Varin brothers poses by the boat. Place and date written in ink on lower right corner of negative. La Rochelle is a city in southwestern France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime department.
Pierre-Amédée Varin was born in 1818 and died in 1883; Pierre Adolphe Varin was born in 1821 and died in 1897; and Eugène-Napoléon Varin was born in 1831 and died in 1911.
The brothers were from an old dynasty of tinsmiths and printmakers, which was established in Chalon-sur-Marne near Reims, France. The brothers studied art and printmaking in Paris, becoming well recognized for their fine gravures after paintings, which they sold through their publisher Goupil. Amédée and Eugène worked collaboratively, often signing prints together. Likewise they made little distinction about their photography in terms of authorship.
Little is known of the brothers' photographic activity, which began around 1845-46 (a few portrait daguerreotypes have survived from this period). While they maintained a studio in Paris, much of their work was focused in the west of the country near Reims. During the early to mid 1850s they produced calotype negatives and salt prints of landscapes, family portraits, architecture, cityscapes (especially of La Rochelle), ships and shipbuilding, etc. They published an album (a copy is the collection of the Getty Museum) called, "Tours à Bordeaux - 1854", which was an album of 104 views of France, from Tours to Bordeaux, which were made in 1853-54. The publisher Quentin-Dailly also released a portfolio of their views of La Rochelle and Reims in 1854-55, although most of their paper negatives from that area date to 1853.
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