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Gustave Le Gray's life was as romantic as any novel. A young painter in Rome, then a fashionable portrait photographer in Paris, Le Gray received commissions from Napoléon III, and astonished viewers with his painterly landscapes and ravishing seascapes. Facing bankruptcy, he fled Paris with Alexandre Dumas to Palermo, traveled to the Middle East, and finally settled in Egypt, where he became drawing master to the ruler's children and continued to make photographs until his death in 1884.
Le Gray's work had remained largely unknown by the general public until he was rediscovered in the 1960s and was deemed by connoisseurs to be the Monet of photography. The fruit of years of research, this complete retrospective offers, as no volume before it, an assessment of Le Gray's important place in the history of photography.
This catalogue was originally published in French to accompany the exhibition Gustave Le Gray, Photographer (1820-1884) at the Bibliothèque Nationale in spring 2002. This English-language edition, edited by Gordon Baldwin, associate curator of photographs at the Getty Museum, coincides with an abridged version of the same exhibition at the Getty Museum that will run from July 9 to September 29, 2002.
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From Library Journal:
Sylvie Aubenas is curator of nineteenth-century photographs at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
Aubenas's Gustave Le Gray is a complete retrospective of the work of this important 19th-century photographer, researcher, and inventor, gathered from public and private collections and archives around the world. It accompanies an exhibit at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and was originally published in French to accompany an earlier exhibit at the Biblioth que nationale de France in Paris, where the author is curator of photography. Though his work included portraits, architecture, and interiors-all of which are represented here among the 237 color and 113 black-and-white images-Le Gray is best known for his landscapes and seascapes, which he manipulated by montage. The essays provide a thorough study of Le Gray's life and work, delving into his contradictory character, his influences, and his travels with Alexandre Dumas. This fine book, illustrated with the highest quality reproductions of processes that are difficult to capture in ink, is the definitive work on Le Gray. The scholarly appendixes alone are worth the price of the book. A Gift of Light also contains images by Le Gray, along with more than 100 images by about 60 other leading European photographers of the mid-19th century, including William Henry Fox Talbot, Eugene Atget, Alphonse Louis Poitevin, and Julia Margaret Cameron. The works are selected from the more than 5000 European photographs that art collector and cellist Janos Scholz donated to the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame. Some images are seen here for the first time. The range of subjects includes landscapes, cathedrals, pyramids, catacombs, portraits of Indian maharajas and the painters Delacroix and Gauguin, and battle locations of the Crimean War, and the areas photographed include France, England, Java, Japan, Turkey, and Indochina. An added value is the discussion of the photographic processes used during that period, which editor Moriarty (curator of photography, Snite Museum) presents in language accessible to the general reader. Excellent reproduction quality captures the special tonal characteristics of these early photographs. The book on Le Gray is highly recommended for all history of photography collections, while A Gift of Light belongs in history of photography collections in academic and larger public libraries.
Kathleen Collins, Bank of America Archives, San Francisco
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st. The catalog of an exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum from July 9 to September 29, 2002. Illustrated with 347 plates. Seller Inventory # 18554
Book Description J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0892366729
Book Description J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110892366729