Photography

Nadar (1820 - 1910)

Brought up along Paris’ bohemian pack, Felix Nadar first distinguished himself as a novelist and most of all, as a caricaturist in 1845. During the 1850s, he became famous as a photographer - an activity he made the preeminent as his studio soon became one of the most popular place to be for France’s cultural personalities such as Sarah Bernhardt, Gustave Courbet, Victor Hugo or Edouard Manet. In total contrast to the conventional and rigid style of other practitioners, Nadar privileged a direct approach of his sitters, rejecting elaborate backgrounds or artifices. Influenced by his experience as a caricaturist, he focused on faces and expressions, grasping intensity and a fragment of inner life, helped by his particular use of light and shades. A remarquable portraitist, Nadar also pioneered aerial photography, he practiced from his balloons, and underground photography.  The photographer initiated a modern take on portraiture by privileging a psychological approach - a manner he was completely aware of: ‘As for the portrait, it is time to have done with the reproach that the photographer cannot convey so well as the painter the intimate and artistic feeling of his sitter. The photograph takes the law into its own hands. Psychological insight is not reserved for painters alone and they know it.’

Nadar, Self-portrait, 1909
Nadar, Self-portrait, 1909
Nadar, Camille Douls, Saharan explorer, 1888
Nadar, Camille Douls, Saharan explorer, 1888
Nadar, Charles Baudelaire, 1860
Nadar, Charles Baudelaire, 1860
Nadar, Chatrousse, c. 1877
Nadar, Chatrousse, c. 1877
Nadar, Claire Salles, c. 1885
Nadar, Claire Salles, c. 1885
Nadar, Claude Monet, 1899
Nadar, Claude Monet, 1899
Nadar, Cléo de Mérode as Cleopatra, opera dancing girl, 1894
Nadar, Cléo de Mérode as Cleopatra, opera dancing girl, 1894
Nadar, Edouard Eiffel, Gustave Eiffel's son, c. 1885
Nadar, Edouard Eiffel, Gustave Eiffel's son, c. 1885
Nadar, Emile Zola, writer, 1885
Nadar, Emile Zola, writer, 1885
Nadar, Sevestre family's child, date unknown
Nadar, Sevestre family's child, date unknown
Nadar, Eugene Delacroix, 1858
Nadar, Eugene Delacroix, 1858
Nadar, George Sand, 1865
Nadar, George Sand, 1865
Nadar, Gustave Courbet, 1861
Nadar, Gustave Courbet, 1861
Nadar, The mime Debureau, Pierrot photograph, date unknown
Nadar, The mime Debureau, Pierrot photograph, date unknown
Nadar, Mr. Cooper, actor, dressed up, 1884
Nadar, Mr. Cooper, actor, dressed up, 1884
Nadar, Mademoiselle Raynal, 1906
Nadar, Mademoiselle Raynal, 1906
Nadar, Bruay, date unknown
Nadar, Bruay, date unknown
Nadar, Miss Litini and Lamothe in
Nadar, Miss Litini and Lamothe in "Les cloches de Corneville", 1893
Nadar, Self-portrait, 1854
Nadar, Self-portrait, 1854
Nadar, René Londeneau, c. 1854-1860
Nadar, René Londeneau, c. 1854-1860
Nadar, Sarah Bernhardt as Lady Macbeth in
Nadar, Sarah Bernhardt as Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth", 1884
Nadar, Sarah Bernhardt as Dona Sol in
Nadar, Sarah Bernhardt as Dona Sol in "Hernani", 1877
Nadar, Sarah Bernhardt as Pierrot in
Nadar, Sarah Bernhardt as Pierrot in "Pierrot assassin", 1883
Nadar, Victor Hugo dead in his bed, May 23, 1885
Nadar, Victor Hugo dead in his bed, May 23, 1885
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