Oct 2, 2007

Portrait of the Actor Pierre Bocage and Friend

Portrait of the Actor Pierre Bocage and Friend

c. 1860

Albumen print from wet collodion negative

Image: 24.1 x 17.8 cm (9 1/2 x 7 in.); Mounted: 45.1 x 30.1 cm (17 3/4 x 11 7/8 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1999.21



Unlike the nearby two theatrical portraits, which show the actors in character, Bocage is shown as himself. Known by the stage name Bocage, Pierre-Martinien Tousez was a star of the Comédie-Française. Here he poses with a younger friend whose identity is unknown. Physical contact and gestures of affection between men are common in 19th- and early 20th-century photographs. They are most widely read as expressions of friendship, although some contemporary scholars suggest that a portion of these portraits could be coded expressions of romantic relationships.

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