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  • Provenance

    Beaussant Lefevre, Paris, 30 November 1996, lot 163

  • Exhibited

    Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 29 September 2013- 5 January 2014; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 27 January- 4 May 2014; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 14 June– 13 September 2014

  • Literature

    National Gallery of Art, Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris, pl. 53

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1858, Charles Marville was commissioned to photograph Paris in advance of the radical redesign of the city ordered by Emperor Napoleon III and overseen by Georges-Eugéne Haussmann. Marville’s photographs of the city’s older quarters constitute an unparalleled document of buildings, streets, and neighborhoods that would be forever altered by Haussmann’s modernization, earning him the title Photographer of the City of Paris.

    The changed city had wider boulevards, improved sanitary conditions, and less crowding in Paris’s poorer quarters. The subject of the photograph offered here is La Bievre, a tributary of the Seine. At the time of this photograph, La Bievre ran through a toxic gauntlet of tanneries, dye factories, and mills that lined its banks and had become dangerously polluted. Marville photographed the notorious river without judgement, documenting the organic development of industry around the waterway. Under Haussmann’s plan, the river was ultimately covered over and tied into the city’s sewer system.

    This photograph, like Marville’s Sky Study, Paris (see Lot 21) was featured in the National Gallery of Art’s recent retrospective, Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris.


La Bievre (de la rue du Pont-aux-biches)

circa 1862
Albumen print.
10 1/2 x 14 1/4 in. (26.7 x 36.2 cm)
Credit blindstamp on the mount; titled in ink on a label affixed to the mount.

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $50,000

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The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation, Part 2

New York 4 April 2017