The Impressionists and Photography
From the first announcement in 1839 of the daguerreotype process at a joint meeting of the French Academy of Sciences and the Académie des Beaux-Arts, photography found itself suspended uneasily between science and the arts, a new technology that offered previously unimaginable possibilities for pictorial representation. While photography’s capacity for naturalistic reproduction threatened one traditional function of painting, the camera’s artificial eye could offer new models for looking at the world. In the work of pioneering photographers such as Gustave Le Gray, Eugène Cuvelier, Nadar, Atget and André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri, impressionist artists such as Manet, Corot, Monet, Pissarro and Degas found new ways of seeing.
The key position that photography now occupies in contemporary art has encouraged a renewed interest in photography’s historical relationship to the other visual arts. The Impressionists and Photography pursues this line of research. Luxuriously produced and lavishly illustrated, this volume reexamines the lively debate that photography’s emergence generated among critics and artists, and offers a critical reflection on the affinities and mutual influences between photography and painting in France in the second half of the 19th century. 288 pages.