Mother with Two Children

Mother with Two Children

c. 1855

Jean-Baptist Frénet

(French, 1814-1889)

Salted paper print from a collodion negative

Paper: 23.1 x 16.5 cm (9 1/8 x 6 1/2 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

Jo Hershey Selden Fund 2001.5

Description

After his antigovernment political activity closed off his professional opportunities as a painter, Frénet took up photography in 1850 and a decade later opened a commercial portrait studio. He preferred simple, plain settings and relied on sitters’ interactions to reveal their personalities and relationships. This family grouping, probably taken for personal pleasure, offers a sense of casual immediacy unusual for the time in both painted and photographic portraiture.

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