If there was a "must-see" on the list of photography exhibits in Paris, it had to be "Une Passion Francaise" drawn from the photography collection of Paris Match Magazine Director Roger Therond. Taking up three floors of la Maison Europeenne de la Photographie and displaying 245 photographs, this show runs through January 9, 2000 and is itself worth taking a trip to Paris. Therond has an extensive collection of the entire pantheon of 19th and 20th century French photographic masters. His great Le Grays (some from the rare Egyptian series), Teynards, Tabards, Marvilles, Lartigues, Nadars, etc. were largely stunning in their condition and print quality. I was reminded of Sotheby's Philippe Garner's comment in the last newsletter about never having seen as fine a Le Gray "Grande Vague" as the one in the Jammes' sale. Well, he and you should visit Paris soon and see the one in the Therond collection. Considering Therond was born in Sete, it shouldn't come as a surprise. What is a surprise is the hundreds of other fabulous images--many of them from lesser-known artists, such as Marseille master Adolphe Terris. For more information on the museum go to:
And, if you can't make it to Paris (or even if you can), you'll want to place your order for the huge (and expensive but worth it) catalogue/book of this exhibit. I understand NYC book dealer Fred Pajerski will be getting in copies to sell soon. He can be reached at 212-255-6501 (leave a message if necessary) or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
The "must" on the gallery circuit is the exhibit of 1850s Louis Robert calotype negative and positive pairs at Baudoin Lebon, which continues on to January 8, 2000. These are incredible rareties, and to see nearly a hundred of them in one place is just astounding. It will never happen again.
It was also at Baudoin Lebon's booth at Paris Photo that I was fortunate to see several other early French masterworks, including a woman's side portrait by Olympe Aguado (the rear version is the famous cover of the Waking Dream), a marvelous Marville and a great outdoor still life by Robert's mentor Victor Regnault.
Except for Baudoin, A l'Omage du Grenier sur l'Eau and Arnaud Delas' Hynos Gallery, there was little 19th century material worth speaking of, with the first two also showing 20th century images. It is a big gap that Gadella and the show need to fill and with more than just one player, but will there be an audience for it here? Delas did sell a Le Gray Chalon panorama at the show. And A l'Omage du Grenier sur l'Eau sold some wonderful and very large carbon prints of sculpture by Braun.
Over at the Orsay Museum, the exhibit to see was the display on the Comtesse de Castiglione. An Italian aristocrat living in Paris, glittering lioness of the Second Empire, and Napoleon III's mistress, the "divine comtesse" later lived as a recluse, going out only by night, veiled in black. With Pierre Louis Pierson's help, she became her own photographer. Some 500 images celebrate her costumes, her body, and her attitudes, with a surprisingly modern approach. You might say she was the 19th century Cindy Sherman. The other related exhibit at the Orsay is "Theatre in the 1860s as witnessed by Eugène Disdéri". These two programs run through January 23, 2000.