Henri-Victor Regnault - The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation, Part 1 New York Monday, April 3, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Collection of Albert Gilles, Paris
    Collection of Marie-Thérèse and André Jammes, Paris
    Sotheby's, Paris, La Photographie II: Collection Marie-Thérèse et André Jammes, 21 March 2002, lot 87

  • Literature

    Coke, One Hundred Years of Photographic History, fig. 41
    Jammes and Janis, The Art of French Calotype, pl. XXXV

  • Catalogue Essay

    Victor Regnault was among the first practitioners of photography in France, and although examples of his work are scarce, his surviving photographs are notable for their technical and aesthetic sophistication. In addition to serving as the director of the porcelain manufactory at Sèvres, Regnault was a man of science, and his experiments and publications on physics and chemistry established his reputation in those fields. He began working with photography as early as 1841, when a colleague sent him an example of paper sensitized by William Henry Fox Talbot. Regnault’s work with the new medium progressed from there, and he quickly developed his own improvements to the paper-negative process. While he made skillful portraits and genre studies, it is arguably his masterful views of Sèvres that are the most accomplished images in his oeuvre. André Jammes and Eugenia Parry Janis write that “Regnault’s most luminous landscapes depict the town of Sèvres, the river and the buildings of the manufactory, in an uncanny self-generating light with soft apricot coloration in the highlights” (The Art of French Calotype, p. 238). Surprisingly large in format, Regnault’s Sèvres views embody a clarity and three-dimensionality not usually seen in photographs made from paper negatives.

    Regnault was a founding member of the Société Héliographique, and later president of the Société Français de Photographie. He became the leader of an informal group of photographers and artists based in Sèvres which included Louis-Rémy Robert (see Lots 94 and 95).

    This photograph has a distinguished provenance, having come originally from Albert Gilles, whose collection stamp is on the reverse. Gilles was a pioneering collector of photography, and he loaned photographs to many significant exhibitions, including Beaumont Newhall’s Photography 1839 – 1937 at The Museum of Modern Art. His extensive collection of daguerreotypes now resides in the collection of the Bibliothèque National de France. This print was later acquired by André Jammes, and was sold in the historic sale of his collection in 2002.


Sèvres et ses environs, Manufacture, Porte orientale et cours d'Honneur

circa 1852
Salt print.
17 1/4 x 13 3/4 in. (43.8 x 34.9 cm)
Credit, annotated, titled in unidentified hands in pencil and an Albert Gilles collection stamp on the verso; initialed and annotated in an unidentified hand in ink on a label affixed to the verso.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $125,000

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The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation, Part 1

New York 3 April 2017