Landscape with Seated Figure on Stream Bank

Landscape with Seated Figure on Stream Bank

c. 1856

Salted paper print from waxed paper negative

Image: 16.5 x 21.5 cm (6 1/2 x 8 7/16 in.); Mounted: 25.1 x 32.5 cm (9 7/8 x 12 13/16 in.); Matted: 40.6 x 50.8 cm (16 x 20 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1999.51

Description

Flooded with bright light and enveloped in deep shadows, this romantic landscape is the remarkable achievement of the early French photographer Chauvassaignes, about whom little biographical information is known. His mastery of composition and technique reveals itself in this picturesque composition of water, stream banks, trees, and foliage, evoking a feeling of great tranquility. Inspired by the compositions of paintings and lithographs, Chauvassaignes exploited the inherent characteristics of the paper negative, enabling him to subordinate details while emphasizing the effects of light and shadow. The idyllic view, contemplated by a solitary seated gentleman, recedes into deep space through flickering sunlight and leafy boughs. A photographer with a trained and sophisticated eye, Chauvassaignes conveyed an uncommon intimacy in this forest landscape, a favorite subject of mid 19th-century artists.

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