This photogravure shows a hazy gray and black outdoor scene. There is a dark cloaked figure depicted in silhouette and a suggestion of trees and vegetation. In the background is a misty gray hillside and expansive sky.
In 1908, Edward Steichen received an invitation from Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) to photograph his controversial sculpture of the French writer Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850). Rodin’s plaster model for a monument to this celebrated author had been rejected by the society that commissioned it and ridiculed in the press when it was exhibited at the Salon of 1898. Ten years after the scandal he still hoped the Balzac might be understood by its critics and that Steichen, whose work he admired, could help to achieve this.
Rodin recommended that the plaster sculpture be photographed at night in moonlight and Steichen agreed. Photographing in the dark requires leaving the film exposed for long periods and Steichen experimented with times that ranged from fifteen minutes to an hour. Of the resulting images, this is one of three that Steichen thought the most successful. When Rodin finally saw a set of the prints a week or two later he said, “You will make the world understand my Balzac through these pictures. They are like Christ walking in the desert.”
Inscribed: in plate, in margin below image: Né en 1615. Inscription in plate: SEBASTIAN BOURDON/ de Monpellier [sic] Peintre ordinaire du Roy, Recteur en son /Académie de Peintre et de Sculpture /gravé par Laurent Cars pour sa réception à l'Académie en 1733.
A young man with long hair looks over his shoulder at the viewer through an illusionistically described stone octagonal aperture. A heavy satin cloth cascades from his right shoulder towards the viewer and through the opening. On the near side of this rusicated aperture are the palette, brushes, drawing folio and a book, indentifying the sitter as an artist, the identification further secured by the canvas on an easle seen behind the figure.
In order to be admitted to the Académie Royale, portrait engravers were required to create two engraved portraits. This portrait of the painter Sébastien Bourdon was one of the prints Cars produced as his reception piece to gain admittance to the Académie as an engraver. The conventions that governed official portraiture from the period are evident in this engraving, which is after a painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud now in the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt. The figure is framed within an octagonal stone frame surrounded by the materials of his profession: easel and canvas, paper, palette, brushes, and a book. Another feature common to these portraits was the use of drapery, either inside the framework or outside of it. Cars’ ability to denote different textures is evident in this work: the velvet coat and waving hair contrast with the sheen of the satin drapery, which cascades across the stone frame forward into the viewer’s space.
This is a black and white photograph with an elevated point of view. It depicts a thick diagonal white line on pavement with a figure standing on the left beside it. The figure is only partially shown with a dark silhouette, but details of his shoe, placed parallel the to white line, are precise. The figure holds a long thin plank of wood at his side that mimics the diagonal white line.
Ralph Gibson is well known for publishing his photographs in book form and he created his own company, Lustrum Press, in New York City in 1969.This work is from "Déjà-Vu" (1972), one of the books that established his career as a creative photographer. "I embrace the abstract in photography and exist on a few bits of order, extracted from the chaos of reality. ["Light Years" 1996]
Two men sit at the center of the print with inquisitive looks upon their faces. Certain facial elements are distorted. They stand with shoulders haunched, and pupiless eyes. Both sets of arms are restrained by handcuffs, and they are handcuffed to one another at the center of the print.
A graphite drawing of Rabindrinath Tagore and Bernard Shaw. The drawing represents real people, but the style and manner of its execution resembles more of a cartoon or caricature rendition of the subjects. Shaw, on the right, is taller and has a paler complexion compared to his companion, Tagore.