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Victor Regnault and the Advance of Photography: The Art of Avoiding Errors

Dahlbert, Laurie

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ISBN 10: 0691118795 / ISBN 13: 9780691118796
Published by Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2005
Condition: Fi ne Hardcover
From Abstract Books (Indianapolis, IN, U.S.A.)

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1st printing. 208 pages, b/w photos, notes, select bibliography, acknowledgments, index, slightly oblong 4to, brown cloth. Fine in a fine dust jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 028343

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Victor Regnault and the Advance of ...

Publisher: Princeton University Press, Princeton

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fi ne

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


This lavishly illustrated book establishes the towering influence of the scientist Victor Regnault (1810-1878) in the earliest decades of photography, a period of experimentation ripe with artistic, commercial, and scientific possibility. Regnault has a double significance to the early history of photography, as the first leader of the Société Française de Photographie (S.F.P.) and as the maker of more than two hundred calotype (paper negative) portraits and landscapes. His photographic and scientific careers intersected a third field with his appointment in 1852 as director of the Sèvres porcelain works.

Readers are treated to Regnault's own beguiling pastoral, garden, and forest scenes; striking portraits of the scientists and artists in his circle of friends; quirky images of acoustic experiments; and an insider's view of the Sèvres porcelain works. Regnault's richly varied photographs also encompass perhaps the most extensive group of family portraits in early photography, and his romanticized landscapes reflect a moment when the rural outskirts of Paris were being aggressively suburbanized and industrialized.

Occupying a unique and powerful position in the overlapping spheres of photography, science, industry, and art, Regnault was elected president of the newly formed S.F.P. in 1855. By examining his intertwined activities against the backdrop of French photography's nascent pursuit of institutional legitimacy, this book illuminates an important and overlooked body of images and the irregular cultural terrain of early photography.

From the Back Cover:

"The most complete account of Regnault to date, this book will add tremendously to our knowledge about an important figure in early photography. But even more important is the expanded view Dahlberg creates of the invention in its historical time. The writing is excellent; you really feel a personality guiding you through the material with enthusiasm. Readers concerned with art history, cultural studies, and the history of industrialization in nineteenth-century France will find much to interest them here."--Nancy Keeler, independent scholar

"Dahlberg has produced an engaging and clearly argued biography that centers on the uniqueness of the individual--all the while demonstrating the reactions of this individual to a tumultuous and complex era. Through Regnault, the reader sees that many photographers were either wealthy or prominent professionals, and may observe how political tumult from the 1840s to the 1870s combined with the unstoppable advance of technology affected the actions and worldviews of people in positions of influence, from the royals to the middle-classes."--Mary Warner Marien, Syracuse University, author of Photography: A Cultural History

"The period chosen by Laurie Dahlberg for her novel and appealing look at Victor Regnault is now widely understood to have been one of the most vibrant and formative in the history of French photography, creating some of the most celebrated masterworks. Her choice of Regnault is equally fortuitous, as his name resonates across the years as a pivotal and influential figure, well regarded by his scientific and photographic colleagues alike."--Roger Taylor, coauthor of Lewis Carroll: Photographer

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