About This Image
Captioned in ink in the wide margins: "Anthropologie, Japan, n.112, nég. pap." Perhaps photographed and/or printed by Charles Albert d'Arnoux, Comte de Limoges-Saint-Sae?ns (alias Bertall) (1820-1882) and/or Hippolyte Bayard (1801-1887). There is reportedly another copy of this image in the collection of the Société de Geographie, Paris.
Some forty-two portraits in the “Ethnographic collection photographed under the auspices of the Society” were known to be printed by Bertall and Bayard and photographed mainly by Potteau on collodion glass plate negatives for Marie-Jean-Léon le Coq Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Deys, then president of the Socie?te? d'E?thnographie, to complete the famous and rare albums published by Potteau. Every portrait was supposedly made in 30 copies. Few have survived outside of French institutions. An additional 4th and 5th series were advertised as being in production but no copies have yet been located with the exception of some of these cyanotype proofs.
This print appears to be part of a later planned supplementary group that were made possibly from copy prints of early anthropology studies in the collection of the Socie?te? d'E?thnographie, which was the first institute in the world to collect such images. It is possibly a copy print from an early and yet unknown carte-de-visite, probably originally taken in Japan in the late 1860s or very early 1870s, although the print is quite beautiful. The unusual decoration and quality of her clothing indicate she may have been a geisha or a wealthy woman.
This may be a unique artist proof print in cyanotype from a paper negative, documenting the last major chapter of Hippolyte Bayard’s long photographic career. While Potteau was involved with most of the earlier images, which were directly from life, the fact that this is from a paper negative and a copy print may imply a different author/copier/printer of the work, perhaps Bayard, who worked with Potteau earlier on this project, or even the Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Deys himself. Bayard was known to use both processes (cyanotype and paper negative) fairly late and made many copies of artwork. In fact his joint venture studio with Bertall specialized in portraits and art reproductions, and had exclusivity for the Socie?te? d'E?thnographie's photography from this period.
This image certainly deserves further research.
Provenance: collection of the Socie?te? d'E?thnographie; ADN Patrimoine; Rhinosceros et Cie.
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Medium Cyanotype from a paper negative
Photo Date 1860s-70s Print Date 1860s-70s
Dimensions 8-5/8 x 5-13/16 in. (220 x 148 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith