Hippolyte Bayard, ‘Untitled (Still life with statuary)’, circa 1855, Phillips

From the Catalogue:
Hippolyte Bayard was one of the earliest practitioners of the art of photography, and his experiments with the medium were contemporaneous with those of William Henry Fox Talbot and Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. One of Bayard’s first innovations was a technique that yielded a direct positive on paper. He went on to make daguerreotypes and paper-negatives and positives, and was an early convert to the glass-plate negative. The print offered here was made from a glass-plate negative and makes full use of glass’s ability to convey detail and three-dimensional space. This study is one of a series of tableaus Bayard made of plaster statuary. Plaster casts of classical sculpture, with their bright reflective surfaces, complete immobility, and art-historical resonance, made ideal subjects for his carefully constructed compositions.

Despite his importance to the early development of photography and his relative productivity, works by Bayard are rare and only infrequently appear in the marketplace. Nearly all his extant photographs and negatives were bequeathed to the Société Française de Photographie upon his death (The Art of French Calotype, p. 147). The Société owns two prints of this image, and a third is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Another was sold at Sotheby’s London in 2005.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: Initialed in the negative.

Galerie Michèle Chomette, Paris
Lunn Ltd., New York, 1995

About Hippolyte Bayard