The Bridge of Palalda (near Amelieles-Bains)

The Bridge of Palalda (near Amelieles-Bains)


Gustave Le Gray

(French, 1820-1884)

Salted paper print from waxed paper negative

Image: 23.8 x 32.7 cm (9 3/8 x 12 7/8 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 61 cm (20 x 24 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1987.130



From July through September 1851, Le Gray and his friend O. Mestral traveled throughout southwest France for the Historic Monuments Commission to document ancient, particularly medieval, monuments of historical importance or in urgent need of or undergoing restoration. This rare, beautifully toned photograph by Le Gray is one of three known positive prints of different subjects that were completely outside the commission’s prescribed program. This picturesque image was taken from the left bank of the Tech River, situated below the old town of Palalda, now a part of Amelie-les-Bains in Pyrenees-Orientales. With his keen eye for artistic compositions, Le Gray stressed the rugged landscape over a detailed, close-up rendering of the ancient bridge. The foreshortened, sheer cliff seems to blend into the structure, resulting in visual uncertainty and spatial tension.

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