The photographic charts in this album illustrate the seemingly infinite variety of physical characteristics that make up an individual’s face, ranging from a general profile and the shape of the forehead and hairline to the size, contours, and details of the ears, nose, lips, and eyebrows. Alphonse Bertillon, director of the Paris Police Department, photographed and assembled these images to accompany a course he developed to train his agents to observe subjects more closely and describe them more accurately.


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
Alphonse Bertillon, French, 1853–1914
Title
Cours théorique de signalement descriptif (portrait parlé) en vingt leçons, exercices pratiques de reconnaissances d’identité
Course on the Theory of Individual Description (Spoken Portrait) in Twenty Lessons, Practical Exercises of Identity Recognition
Date
c. 1900
Medium
Gelatin silver prints
Dimensions
Sheet: 11 13/16 × 6 11/16 in. (30 × 17 cm) Overall: 12 5/8 × 8 7/16 × 1/4 in. (32.1 × 21.4 × 0.7 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
2016.341
Classification
Books & Manuscripts
Provenance

[Ader Nordmann, Paris, Photographies & Livres de Photographies, November 12, 2016, 52 (illus.), lot 81]; purchased by MFAH, 2016.