Gustave Le Gray

Jean-Baptiste Gustave Le Gray (August 30, 1820 – July 30, 1884)Le Corre, Florence. [http://www.napoleon.org/en/special_dossier/chalons/presentation/bio.html Gustave Le Gray, a poet with a passion for excellence.] "Translated from the catalogue "Une visite au camp de Châlons sous le Second Empire: photographies de Messieurs Le Gray, Prévot...", Paris: musée de l'Armée, 1996, pp. 130-131." Retrieved September 15, 2008.] has been called "the most important French photographer of the nineteenth century because of his technical innovations in the still new medium of photography, his role as the teacher of other noted photographers, and the extraordinary imagination he brought to picture making"J. Paul Getty Museum. [http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/le_gray Gustave Le Gray, Photographer. July 9 - September 29, 2002.] Retrieved September 14, 2008.] .

Biography

Le Gray was born in 1820 in Villiers-le-Bel, north of Paris, France. He was originally trained as a painter, studying under François-Édouard Picot and Paul Delaroche, but crossed over to photography in the early years of its development. He made his first daguerreotypes by 1847Metropolitan Museum of Art. [http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/gray/hd_gray.htm Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Thematic Essays. Gustave Le Gray (1820–1884).] October 2004. Retrieved September 15, 2008.] . His early photographs included portraits; scenes of nature such as Fontainebleau Forest; and buildings such as châteaux of the Loire ValleyJanis, Eugenia Parry. [http://moma.org/collection/details.php?artist_id=3429 Gustave Le Gray. (French, 1820-1882).] Museum of Modern Art, "from Grove Art Online." Oxford University Press, 2007. Retrieved September 15, 2008.] .

His technical innovations included:
* Improvements on paper negatives, specifically waxing them before exposure "making the paper more receptive to fine detail"Rosenblum, Naomi. "A world history of photography", 4th edition. New York: Abbeville, 2007.] .
* A collodion process published in 1850 but which was "theoretical at best"Peres, Michael R. "The Focal encyclopedia of photography digital imaging, theory and applications, history, and science", 4th edition. Amsterdam and Boston: Elsevier/Focal Press, 2007. ISBN 9780240807409] . The invention of the wet collodion method to produce a negative on a glass plate is now credited to Frederick Scott Archer who published his process in 1851.
* Combination printing, creating seascapes by using one negative for the water and one negative for the sky.

He taught photography to students such as Charles Nègre, Henri Le Secq, Nadar, and Maxime Du Camp. In 1851 he became one of the first five photographers hired for the Missions Héliographiques to document French monuments and buildingsJ. Paul Getty Museum. [http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artMakerDetails?maker=1913 Gustave Le Gray.] Retrieved September 15, 2008.] . In that same year he helped found the Société Héliographique, the "first photographic organization in the world". Le Gray published a treatise on photography, which went through four editions, in 1850, 1851, 1852, and 1854.

In 1855 Le Gray opened a "lavishly furnished" studio, but later went into debt. He therefore "closed his studio, abandoned his wife and children, and fled the country to escape his creditors". He began to tour the Mediterranean in 1860 with the writer Alexandre Dumas, père. After Dumas abandoned Le Gray in Malta due to a conflict, Le Gray went to Lebanon, then traveled to Egypt where he became a professor of drawing. He probably died in 1884 in Cairo.

Works

World records for most expensive photograph sold at auction, 1999-2003

In October 1999, Sotheby's sold a Le Gray albumen print "Beech Tree, Fontainebleau" [J. Paul Getty Museum. [http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=68557 The Beech Tree. Gustave Le Gray.] Retrieved September 15, 2008.] for £419,500, which was a world record for most expensive single photograph ever sold at auction, to an anonymous buyerMelikian, Souren. [http://www.iht.com/articles/1999/11/06/lon.t_0.php Early photos appeal to modern buyers: shedding light on the lost past.] "International Herald Tribune", November 6, 1999. Retrieved September 14, 2008.] . Later that day at the same auction, however, an albumen print of "Grande Vague, Sète" ("The Big Wave at Sète," "The Great Wave, Sète" [Metropolitan Museum of Art. [http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ho/10/euwf/hob_1976.646.htm The Great Wave, Sète, 1856–59.] Retrieved September 15, 2008.] ) also by Le Gray was sold for a new world record price of £507,500 or $840,370 to "the same anonymous buyer" who was later revealed to be Sheik Saud Al-Thani of Qatar [Gefter, Philip. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/arts/design/01geft.html What 8,500 pictures are worth.] "New York Times", January 1, 2006. Retrieved September 15, 2008.] . The record stood until May 2003 when Al-Thani purchased a daguerreotype by Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey for £565,250 or $922,488 [Pinsent, Richard. [http://www.forbes.com/2003/05/30/cx_0530hot.html The world's most expensive photograph.] "Forbes", May 30, 2003. Retrieved September 15, 2008.] [ [http://www.iphotocentral.com/news/issue_view.php/64/59 Christie's London sale of daguerreotypes by Girault De Prangey sets world auction record for a photograph at over $925,000.] "E-Photo Newsletter", Issue 59, July 3, 2003. Retrieved September 15, 2008.] .

Books

* Le Gray, Gustave (translated by Thomas Cousins). "A practical treatise on photography, upon paper and glass". London : T. & R. Willats, 1850.
* Le Gray, Gustave. "Photographic manipulation: the waxed paper process of Gustave Le Gray. Translated from the French." London: George Knight and Sons, 1853.

ee also

*List of most expensive photographs

References

Further reading

* Parry, Eugenia. "The photography of Gustave Le Gray". Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago and University of Chicago Press, 1987. ISBN 0226392104
* Aubenas, Sylvie. "Gustave Le Gray, 1820-1884". Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002. ISBN 0892366729
* Aubenas, Sylvie. "Gustave Le Gray". London and New York: Phaidon, 2003. ISBN 0714842346

External links

*
* cite web |url= http://www.i-photocentral.com/collecting/article_view.php/11/12/1 |last=Novak |first=Alex
title=Photography Price Gyrations: Gustave Le Gray, A Case Study |work=On Connoisseurship and Photography Print Values: A Discussion |accessdate=2008-09-16


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