Salted paper print from a collodion negative
Paper: 23.1 x 16.5 cm (9 1/8 x 6 1/2 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)
Jo Hershey Selden Fund 2001.5
Frénet was one of the earliest photographers to take spontaneous, rather rigidly formal, portraits.
After anti-government political activity closed off his professional opportunities as a painter, Jean-Baptiste Frénet took up photography in 1850 and a decade later opened a commercial portrait studio. He preferred simple, plain settings and relied on sitters’ interactions to reveal their personalities and relationships. This family grouping, probably taken for personal pleasure, offers a sense of casual immediacy unusual for the time in both painted and photographic portraiture.
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