An image from the dawn of photography showing one of the most famous Parisian landmarks will be a highlight at Sotheby’s 105-lot offering on November 10. This 1840 daguerreotype of the façade of Notre Dame is the work of Vincent Chevalier, one of the French photo pioneers.
An optical engineer from a family of opticians, Chevalier was responsible for introducing Louis Daguerre to Nicéphore Niepce. An early proponent of the daguerreotpye process, Chevalier made a number of remarkable early studies of Parisian monuments, of which this is one.
The full-plate daguerreotype, with a visible area measuring 7¾ x 5½in (20 x 14cm) in the original frame, is one of only three known versions. Another is in the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, and the third in a private French collection where it was registered as a French National Treasure in 1988. The estimate is €100,000-150,000.
Binoche et Giquello
Binoche et Giquello’s contribution to Paris’ photo celebration is a select sale at Drouot on November 9 featuring 48 lots by Eugène Atget – 46 of which come from a single source.
They are part of an unpublished album of views of Paris titled Album de Photographies – Documentation ordered from the photographer in the first decade of the 20th century by a Parisian firm. They show a range of old building buildings, streets, shop fronts and architectural details.
These scenes formed part of Atget’s mammoth undertaking to photograph the French capital and environs, a goal that coincided with a project by the Commission du Vieux Paris set up in the 1890s to document the city and its ancient quarters before they disappeared.
All 46 photos are albumen prints from glass negatives. Pictured above left is one of his views of picturesque shop fronts in the left bank Saint André des Arts quarter. It shows a butcher’s shop and the balconied façade of a house that was the home of the historian Andre du Chesne (1584-1640), and is estimated at €6000-8000.
Leclère is holding a dedicated photograph sale at Drouot on November 10. Among the sale highlights is a group of five 1880s silver gelatin prints of watercolours of Fontaines fables by the French Symbolist painter Gustave Moreau.
The watercolours were part of a larger commission from various French artists between 1879-86 by Antoni Roux, a wealthy art lover from Marseilles. These photographic reproductions of Moreau’s paintings, which are attributed to the artist and have been embellished with drypoint, ink, charcoal and white gouache, were taken for an edition of engravings by the Paris firm of Goupil.
Pictured above is Le Chêne et le Roseau (the oak and the reed), which has a pencil signature lower left. The group has an estimate of €10,000-12,000.