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.


Cataloguing data may change with further research.

If you have questions about this work of art or the MFAH Online Collection please contact us.

Artist
Vincent Chevalier, French, 1770–1841
Title
[View of Paris]
Date
1840–1841
Medium
Daguerreotype
Dimensions
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
2014.256
Classification
Photographs
Provenance

[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.