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  • Provenance

    Originally from the collection of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc
    Piasa, Paris, March 2002

  • Literature

    de Mondenard, La Mission Héliographique: Cinq Photographes Parcourent la France en 1851, n.p.

  • Catalogue Essay

    This photograph of the ancient French city of Carcassonne is a rare surviving example of the joint work that Gustave Le Gray and Auguste Mestral made at the behest of the Commission des Monuments Historiques. It is especially distinguished by the fact that is signed by both photographers. This assignment came to Le Gray and his former student Mestral in 1851, just after Le Gray had announced his process for treating paper photographic negatives with wax to enhance their translucence and clarity. Le Gray used this trip as an opportunity to perfect this technique, the result being a series of images notable for their high level of detail.

    Le Gray and Mestral photographed in the South of France, concentrating on sites and structures in need of restoration. Carcassonne, inhabited since Neolithic times and incorporating Roman and medieval fortifications, was such a site. By the time Le Gray and Mestral photographed there, the town’s structures were crumbling and urgently needed repair. The view offered here, made before the town’s restoration by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, shows the fortifications in the background and the Pont Vieux in the foreground. Carcassonne has since been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Vue générale des remparts de Carcassonne, prise de l’ouest

Salt print, mounted
14 5/8 x 10 3/4 in. (37.1 x 27.3 cm)
Signed in ink by both artists and Le Gray credit blindstamp on the recto.

$25,000 - 35,000 

Sold for $18,750

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

New York 4 April 2017