With an entrancing three-dimensionality akin to that of a modern hologram, Vincent Chevalier’s view of the Seine, the Louvre, and the equestrian statue of Henri IV in the heart of Paris is a dazzling example of the earliest photographic process, the daguerreotype. First shown to the public in January 1839 by their inventor, the Romantic painter, showman, and entrepreneur Louis Daguerre, daguerreotypes are one-of-a-kind photographic images on highly polished silver-plated sheets of copper, sensitized with iodine and developed in mercury fumes. Made little more than a year after Daguerre revealed the secret of his process, Chevalier’s View of Paris is an impressive example of the new medium’s capacity to record the world with astonishing accuracy, including details visible only with magnification. Like many early daguerreotypes, it is laterally reversed, left to right. This rare “whole plate” daguerreotype (the largest standard size) is one of the earliest photographs in the Museum’s collection.
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Vincent Chevalier, French, 1770–1841
[View of Paris]
- At opening: 5 7/8 × 8 1/16 in. (15 × 20.5 cm) Overall: 9 × 11 in. (22.9 × 27.9 cm)
- Credit Line
Museum purchase funded by the Brown Foundation Accessions Endowment Fund
- Current Location
- Not on view
- Accession Number
[Sotheby's, Paris, November 11, 2011, lot 1]; [Daniel Wolf, New York]; [consigned to Hans P. Kraus Jr., Inc., New York]; purchased by MFAH, 2014.