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ULTIMATE Early French Masterworks from the Hyman Collection Henri-Victor Regnault Follow Sèvres et les Environs, Bords de la Seine [Sèvres and the Surroundings, Banks of the Seine] likely 1852-1853 Salt print, possibly lightly albumenised, from a waxed paper negative. Image/sheet: 30.5 x 38.5 cm (12 x 15 1/8 in.) Initialled ‘V.R.c.N°’ by Regnault ink on a label, annotated incorrectly ‘Sèvres et les Environs – Manufacture – /18. /Cours et Logement du Charpentier’ in French and variously numbered, in other hands, all in pencil on the verso. This work is the only known print of this image to date and is likely unique. Musée d’Orsay holds a salt print of a variant, showing more image along the lower and right edges, which they date about 1853.
Condition Report Sign up or Log in Provenance Collection of Albert Gilles, Paris Collection of Marie-Thérèse and André Jammes, Paris, 1960s Sotheby's Paris, La Photographie II: Collection Marie-Thérèse et André Jammes , 21 March 2002, lot 81 Vintage Works, Ltd., Chalfont, PA, 2005 The Hyman Collection, London Exhibited Niepce to Atget: The First Century of Photography from the Collection of André Jammes , Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 16 November 1977 - 15 January 1978, this lot Literature H. Gernsheim, The Origins of Photography , London: Thames & Hudson, 1982, p. 245, titled the Seine at Sèvres and dated 1851-1852 Niepce to Atget: The First Century of Photography from the Collection of André Jammes , Chicago: AIC, 1977, pl. 41b, p. 29, dated 1851-1852, this lot L. Dahlberg, Victor Regnault and the Advance of Photography: The Art of Avoiding Errors , Princeton: Princeton UP, 2005, fig. 94, p. 174, Musée d’Orsay’s variant, annotated Bords de la Seine. Vue prise de la Rive gauche, d'amont en aval, entre le Bas-Meudon et le Bas-Sèvres and dated about 1852 Catalogue Essay ‘True daylight has been replaced by a light of Regnault’s invention.’ André Jammes and Eugenia Parry Janis, The Art of French Calotype This masterful view of the banks of the Seine by Henri-Victor Regnault is arguably among the most accomplished images in his oeuvre. Here we see a scene devoid of people, which nevertheless reminds us of the life that occupied that world. Along the curve of the Seine are structures, probably industrial, and on the nearest one, we can almost make out the writing painted along the wall. Floating in the river are a few moored boats, and in the foreground, a pile of crates and a wheelbarrow line the river’s edge. In Victor Regnault and the Advance of Photography , Laurie Dahlberg argues that his photographs of the banks of the Seine represent Regnault’s resistance of ‘neat interpretation and classification’ and ‘refusal to adhere consistently to either a romantic or prosaic point of view’ (p. 171). His skillful capturing of light, as seen here, was a result of his familiarity with scientific studies of light combined with his artistic sensibilities. The manuscript annotation ‘Cours et Logement du Charpentier’ [Carpenter’s House and Courtyard] in an early yet unidentified hand on the verso of the present work is incorrect. The same annotation appears on the mount verso of another photograph by Regnault, also owned originally by André Jammes, which is held at the Getty Museum and is a close-up view of the carpenter’s house. The title we have given the present work comes from the annotation on the mount of a variant, showing more image along the lower and right edges, held at the Musée d’Orsay: ‘Bords de la Seine. Vue prise de la Rive gauche, d'amont en aval, entre le Bas-Meudon et le Bas-Sèvres’ [Sèvres and Surroundings, Banks of the Seine, View taken from the Left Bank from upstream to downstream between Bas-Meudon and Bas-Sèvres] . The photograph, offered here, has a distinguished provenance, having come originally from the great Parisian art collector Albert Gilles. Gilles was a pioneering collector of photography who loaned photographs to many significant exhibitions; his extensive collection of daguerreotypes now resides at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The present lot was later acquired by André Jammes in the 1960s and was sold in the historic sale of his collection in 2002. A leading figure among the Sèvres photographers, Regnault began to photograph in the late 1840s following the announcement of Blanquart-Evrard’s modifications to Talbot’s calotype process in 1847. A founding member of the Société héliographique in 1851, alongside his Parisian colleagues Nègre (lot 1), Baldus (lot 6) and Bayard (lot 7), Regnault directed the porcelain factory at Sèvres from 1852 until 1871 during which he established a photographic department. A key member of his circle was Louis-Rémy Robert, head of the painting workshop, whose
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