Albumen Print or albumenized salted paper print on paper
Dimensions: Image: 17 9/16 x 12 3/4 inches (44.6 x 32.4 cm);
Sheet: 24 1/2 x 18 3/4 inches (62.2 x 47.6 cm)
Gift, by exchange, of Arthur Penn, Class of 1956, and Marilyn Penn; Christopher Elliman; David Elliman; and Andrea Branch
Object Number: 91.029.002
Though he died penniless, Edouard-Denis Baldus epitomized the successful photographer. Trained as a painter, he combined the roles of artist, chemist, and entrepreneur. Born in Westphalia, Baldus began his career in the military. He turned early to an artistic career and arrived in Paris to study painting in 1838, shortly before DaguerreÕs experiments profoundly changed the art world. He began an intense study of photographic chemistry, and when Fox Talbot's paper processes were developed, Baldus found his niche. Best known as a recorder of architecture, Baldus emphasized strong symmetrical images taken frontally, playing on the rich tonalities inherent in Gothic buildings, like this image of the Cathedral of St. Ouen in Rouen. Baldus is, perhaps, best remembered for his commission to record scenes along the path of the railroad being built from Boulogne to Paris and on the Mediterranean coast. These photographs were bound into a richly decorated album and presented to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on the occasion of their visit to Paris in August 1855. Ernest Lacan, editor-in-chief of La Lumière, the weekly journal of the first photographic society, said of Baldus's work: "It had a rare perfection... tonal beauty... incredible fineness of detail. M. Baldus knows how to choose his point of view." (From “A Handbook of the Collection: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art," 1998)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.