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Creator Name: Le Gray, Gustave
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1820 - 1882
Biography: Gustave Le Gray French, 1820-1882A master both technically and aesthetically, Gustave Le Gray (born in Villiers-le-Bel) was one of the most important figures in 19th-century French photography, bringing to the medium artistic integrity and visual imagination. Le Gray, trained as a painter, was exhibiting his work in the Paris Salons in the late 1840s and early 1850s when he became interested in photography. Along with Henri Le Secq and Charles Nègre, he was a student of Paul Delaroche, a painter of considerable reputation and ability who was one of the first to grasp the importance of photography. In 1851 Le Gray announced his invention of a waxed paper negative, a significant improvement over earlier paper methods that was later adopted by Louis de Clercq, Dr. August Jakob Lorent, and others. That same year the Commission des Monuments historiques named him as one of five photographers of the Mission héliographique, for which he produced well-known studies of army maneuvers at Chalons. Le Gray also worked with François Arago, the scientist and champion of Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, and later proposed a new method of toning prints, among other innovations. Le Gray was perhaps most admired for the effects he achieved with water and sky. To capture the subtle qualities of cloud patterns in some of his seascapes, he employed two negatives to produce the final image. His commissioned studies of historic monuments are classic examples of early architectural photography. In the early 1850s he worked in the Barbizon tradition at Fontainebleau and, in 1860, documented the uprising against François II in Palermo. He was a founding member of the Société héliographique and the Société française de photographie. Despite his influence and artistic success, Le Grayleft Paris in 1865 to become a professor of design at the École Polytechnique in Cairo. He died in Egypt. T.W.F.
Creator Birth Place: Villiers-le-Bel, France
Creator Name-CRT: Gustave Le Gray
Title: Un effet de soleil
Title Type: Foreign
Title: An Effect of the Sun, Normandy
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1854
Creation End Date: 1858
Creation Date: c. 1856
Object Type: Photographs
Classification Term: Photography
Materials and Techniques: albumen print from wet collodion negative
Dimensions: Image: 32cm x 41.8cm
Inscriptions: Written in red ink on recto: "Gustave Le Gray"; on label on recto: "All titles Effet du [sic] Soleil Ocean No. 23"
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1987.54
Credit Line: Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund
Context: Exploring the dramatic effects of sunlight, clouds, and water, Gustave Le Gray gained immediate recognition for his landmark photographs of the Mediterranean Sea and the English Channel, taken between 1855 and 1860. At this time photographic emulsions were not equally sensitive to all colors of the spectrum, making it impossible to achieve a proper exposure for both sea and sky in a single image. Thus, for may of his seascapes Le Gray printed two negatives on a single sheet of paper, a technique calledcombination printing. One negative was taken of the water and the other of the sky. The overlap often apparent in such multiple negative images is not visible in this skillfully executed print.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1987.54
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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