Pierre Emile Joseph Pécarrère, ‘Cathédrale de Chartres, Statues du Portail Sud, des Confesseurs’, 1851/1851c, Contemporary Works/Vintage Works

An interesting use of an out-of focus foreground object that gives this image an unusual feel and sense of modernism.

Inscription in the negative at upper left: "Em. Pec, Chartres 14 bis". There is a variant in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, numbered just 14 with shadows enveloping the head of the left statue.

One of the finest photographers of the early 1850s remains a mysterious figure. More than one hundred of his salted paper prints survive, many signed in the negative "Em. Pec," a name that is not found in any early photographic journals, records of photographic societies, or exhibition catalogues.

It seems likely that this photographer was Pierre Emile Joseph Peccarère (inconsistently spelled Peccarrère, Pecarrère, Pecarère, and Pecarer), a lawyer who learned photography from Gustave Le Gray and was among the founding members of the Société Héliographique. The confusion over his identity is compounded by the fact that fifty photographs, many with titles that correspond in subject to Pec's surviving signed works, were shown at the Society of Arts in London in 1852, listed in the exhibition catalogue as the work of "Pecquerel." One can only surmise that this was a misunderstanding of the name "Peccarère" by the exhibition's British organizers, who saw photographs signed "Pec" but were more familiar with the French scientist and daguerreotypist Edmond Becquerel, also a member of the Société Héliographique.

Pec photographed throughout France and Italy in the first years of the 1850s.

Mondenard and Pagneux, Modernisme ou Modernite, Les Photographes du Cercle de Gustave Le Gray, 2012, p.125; La Photographie IV. Collection M.T. et A. Jammes, p.55; Hershkowitz. About Sixty French Calotypes, Cockhaise, reproduction pl. 26; Jammes and Janis, The Art of French Calotype, fig.119, p.230.

About Pierre Emile Joseph Pécarrère