Nadar @ Jeu de Paume

Nadar: Rule and Caprice

Through 07 november 2010

Jeu de Paume - Château de Tours

Atelier Nadar, Sarah Bernhardt, Pierrot dans la pantonime Pierrot Assassin, Palais du Trocadéro, 1883

Best known as Nadar, Félix Tournachon (1820–1910), whose portraits have been celebrated in numerous exhibitions, is an emblematic figure of 19th-century photography. It was in the 1850s that he took the portraits of the great figures of the arts in bohemian Paris, at the same time developing an approach that secured the success of his studio throughout the Second Empire.

Under the Third Republic, which saw Paul Nadar (1856–1939) join and eventually take over the family firm, the portraits became standardised, a tendency often considered as a sign of excessive commercialisation. This exhibition sets out to question this view by looking at these photographs of actors and actresses as a complementary vision of society towards the end of the 19th century. In this sense, the photographer’s studio occupied a crossroads between “rule and caprice,” where portraits of illustrious figures and solemn representations of the pillars of the community cohabit with the face-making and gestures, displays and mimed drama of the performing arts... (continue reading)