In the early 1850s, despite protests from moralists, photographs of nudes (known as académies) were discreetly produced under the guise of "artist's studies." Among those most skilled at making such studies was Julien Vallou de Villeneuve. A successful painter and lithographer during the 1820s and 1830s before turning to photography in the early 1840s, he created a new repertoire of poses for artists to use as compositional aids. Among his clients was the French realist painter Gustave Courbet (1819–1877).
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