Tag Archives: Photography

Charles Marville’s Paris coming to The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I’m excited for an upcoming show of about 100 photos of a newly haussmannized Paris which opens January 29th. Charles Marville, one of photography’s early powerhouses, started taking photos in 1850 and twelve years later was appointed Paris’s official photographer. His photos helped to ingrain the romantic, iconic Paris so many of us carry in our minds and draw forth when reading Emile Zola or imagining the Impressionists making their way through the city’s streets.

3. Flèche de Notre Dame, Viollet-le-Duc, Ar (Spire of Notre Dame, Viollet-le-Duc, Ar[chitect])

Charles Marville (French, 1813–1879); Spire of Notre Dame, Viollet-le-Duc, Architect; 1859-1860; Albumen silver print from glass negative; 49.5 x 36.5 cm (19 1/2×14 3/8 in.)
The AIA/AAF Collection, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, D.C.

Not all of Marville’s subjects were as lofty as Notre Dame, as evidenced by the following photo of a Jenning’s System urinal outside of a theater.

Charles Marville (French, 1813–1879); Urinal, Jennings System, plateau de l’Ambigu
1876; Albumen silver print from glass negative; 26.7 × 36.4 cm (10 1/2 × 14 5/16 in.)
Musée Carnavalet, Paris; © Musée Carnavalet / Roger-Viollet

From the Met’s press release:

Marville photographed the city’s oldest quarters, and especially the narrow, winding streets slated for demolition. Even as he recorded the disappearance of Old Paris, Marville turned his camera on the new city that had begun to emerge. Many of his photographs celebrate its glamour and comforts, while other views of the city’s desolate outskirts attest to the unsettling social and physical changes wrought by rapid modernization.

Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris

Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 Fifth Ave., NYC)
January 29–May 4, 2014