Photographer of Paris.
Edited by Sarah Kennel.
University Of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2013. 256 pp., 170 color illustrations, 9½x11".
Charles Marville (1813–79) is widely acknowledged as one of the most talented photographers of the nineteenth century. Accompanying a major retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Art to honor Marville’s bicentennial, Charles Marville: Photographer of Nineteenth-Century Paris offers a survey of the artist’s entire career. This beautiful book, which begins with the city scenes and architectural studies Marville made throughout France and Germany in the 1850s, and also explores his landscapes and portraits, as well as his photographs of Paris both before and after many of its medieval streets were razed to make way for the broad boulevards, parks, and monumental buildings we have come to associate with the City of Light. Commissioned to record the city in transition, Marville became known as the official photographer of Paris.
Marville has long been an enigma in the history of photography, in part because many of the documents about his life were thought to have been lost in a fire that destroyed Paris’s city hall in 1871. Based on meticulous research, this volume offers many new insights into Marville’s personal and professional biography, including the central fact that Marville was not his given name. Born Charles-François Bossu in 1813, the photographer adopted the pseudonym when he began his career as an illustrator in the 1830s. With five essays by respected scholars, this book offers the first comprehensive examination of Marville’s life and career and delivers the much-awaited public recognition his work so richly deserves.
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