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Charles NÈGRE (1820-1880)
Thésée tuant le Minotaure, de Ramey

Albumen print, 1859, from a wet-collodion glass negative, 1859
34.0 x 44.7 cm, unmounted
Various (later) pencil annotations on verso

This print is one of a series which Nègre photographed of sculpture groups and views in the Tuileries Gardens of the Louvre in 1859. Nègre had proposed to the Emperor in 1858 a more ambitious project for photographing the chefs d'oeuvre of the entire Louvre. The project which was actually commissioned contemplated 50 heliographic plates of the Tuileries Gardens to be published in an edition of 100 copies. Nègre proceeded to photograph 30 plates which he submitted for approval. (The instant print shows the image-reversal of the carved text on the base of the sculpture and the ruled marginal lines which are the precursors of publication.) The director of the project died before any approval was forthcoming, and the new director did not pursue the project.

Heilbrun states that 15 prints remained with Nègre's family, the bulk of which, including this one, were acquired by M. et Mme. Jammes and dispersed in their epochal 2002 Paris sale of Nègre material. No other print, or the glass plate negative, has been located in any other institutional or private collection.

Provenance: Nègre family; Marie-Thérèse and André Jammes

Reference: Françoise Heilbrun, Charles Nègre, photographe 1820-1880, Musées Nationaux de France (Paris, 1980), under no. 113.

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