Louis-Émile Durandelle Portrait of Charles Garnier with the Architects, Officials and Workers of the Opéra Agence, the agency run by architect Garnier for the construction of the Palais Garnier of the Paris Opera
Medium Albumen print from wet plate negative
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1866-69 Print Date 1866-69
Dimensions 9-3/4 x 12-1/8 in. (248 x 308 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Photographer dry stamp on the recto of the mount.
A very rare image that was not in the Opera portfolio. We've been only able to find one other copy in the Beaux-Arts L'Ecole Nationale Superieure collection. The image shows Charles Garnier himself, sitting in the center, as well as many of his associates, including Edmond Le Deschault and Victor Louvet. They are all posing in front of the partially finished construction of the New Opera of Paris with scaffolding, ladders and a work cart all a part of the scene.
Jean-Louis Charles Garnier, born November 6, 1825, was a French architect, perhaps best known as the architect of the Palais Garnier (or Le Nouvel Opera de Paris) and the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.
The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. It was originally called the Salle des Capucines because of its location on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, but soon became known as the Palais Garnier in recognition of its opulence and its architect, Charles Garnier. The theater is also often referred to as the Opéra Garnier, and historically was known as the Opéra de Paris or simply the Opéra, as it was the primary home of the Paris Opera and its associated Paris Opera Ballet until 1989, when the Opéra Bastille opened at the Place de la Bastille. The Paris Opera now mainly uses the Palais Garnier for ballet.
The Palais Garnier is "probably the most famous opera house in the world, a symbol of Paris like Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, or the Sacré Coeur Basilica," This is at least partly due to its use as the setting for Gaston Leroux's 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and, especially, the novel's subsequent adaptations in films and Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular 1986 musical. Another contributing factor is that among the buildings constructed in Paris during the Second Empire, besides being the most expensive, it has been described as the only one that is "unquestionably a masterpiece of the first rank." This opinion is far from unanimous however: the 20th-century French architect Le Corbusier once described it as "a lying art" and contended that the "Garnier movement is a décor of the grave".