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The photography of Gustave Le Gray /
Eugenia Parry Janis.
Chicago : Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago Press, 1987.
184 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
More Details
Chicago : Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago Press, 1987.
general note
"The exhibition was held at the Art Institute of Chicago from September 18 to December 6, 1987"--T.p. verso.
Includes index.
catalogue key
Bibliography: p. [175]-178.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1988-06:
In this excellent book that is both well written and thoroughly researched, Janis presents new information about Le Gray's early career as artist and photographer and about the late work in Palermo and Syria that contributes substantially to the understanding of this seminal 19th-century French photographer. The strength of the book lies in the multiple perspectives brought to bear on each type of subject. For example, in the Camp de Chalons photographs, Janis analyzes the formal traits of the images, compares them to the actual geography of the site and the activities of the camp, demonstrates how they differ from literary reportage, and how they reflect Napoleon III's aspirations for the camp. This close-grained analysis is applied to all Le Gray's subjects, even the little-known portraits. This much needed book will certainly be the standard reference for the subject. Although it is scholarly, it is written in such a way that it appeals to the general as well as the academic reader. The illustrations are profuse and of excellent quality; the bibliography is good. Highly recommended.-S. Spencer, North Carolina State University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 1988
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Main Description
Gustave Le Gray (1820-1882) was one of the most technically accomplished and aesthetically enlightened of the early "artist-photographers." Trained as a painter of portraits and landscapes, Le Gray was attracted in the 1840s to the artistic potential of photographic processes. As a photographer he evolved and refined much of photography's primary aesthetic theory. By 1855 he had influenced, if not taught, every important photographer in France. Drawing on entirely new material Eugenia Parry Janis fully analyzes the life and work of Le Gray and demonstrates the originality of his artistic achievement in the context of discoveries about his personal and professional history. Janis, approaching the photographs of Le Gray with the methods and sensibilities of an art historian, reveals telling connections between Le Gray's choices of subject matter and formal means of presentation and the existing pictorial practice of other media such as painting. This same approach makes her sensitive to Le Gray's departures from such traditional practice, and she skillfully illustrates how he evolved from student painter into master photographer. In doing so she gives us a glimpse of the way in which Le Gray's manipulation of the photographic process was always informed by his pictorial needs and by his developing style.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Under the Dark Cloth: A Dreamer's Intimate Spaces
Le Gray at Liberty: The Dangers of Italy at Carnival Time, 1843-1850
Le Gray's Atelier: The Experimentalist ""With a Little Perseverance,"" 1850-1855
Chasing Victor's Shadows: Architecture and the Missions héliographiques, 1851
The Forest and the Trees: Monsieur Denecourt's Little Blue Arrows, 1849-c. 1857
Waves, Riggings, Ports: The Seascapes, 1855-1860
Military Maneuvers: The Camp de Châlons
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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