Stereoscopic daguerreotype, hand-colored, 2/6th plate
Image: 6.5 x 5.5 cm (2 9/16 x 2 3/16 in.); Overall: 8.4 x 16.8 cm (3 5/16 x 6 5/8 in.); Matted: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18 in.)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1999.8
A master of commercial portrait photography, Gouin specialized in hand-painted stereoscopic daguerreotypes. Derived from the inventions of Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) in 1832 and Sir David Brewster (1781-1868) in 1849, the stereoscopic technique produced two almost identical photographic images. When seen simultaneously in a viewing instrument called a stereoscope, the resulting effect was an astonishing illusion of three-dimensional space. This rare example comes from an important group of nude studies Gouin created in the early 1850s. To create the image, Gouin carefully posed a favorite model--Delphine Herbé, a florist--in his third-floor studio where the bright, natural light would define her body. Drapery was used to relieve the monotony of the background and heighten the three-dimensionality of the model's form and echo its contours. Gouin's training as a painter of miniatures is evident in the delicacy of the hand-coloring and in the subtle, naturalistic application of pigment over the polished surface of the plate.
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