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Société Française de Photographie

Old photographs (daguerreotypes, autochromes, original prints, positive and negative plates, etc.)


The SFP, the oldest association of French photographers, was founded in 1854. Its collection of images, made up of gifts from members (Hippolyte Bayard, Edmond Becquerel, Gustave Le Gray, etc.), has been classified as an Historical Monument. SFP owns one of the largest collections of historical images in the world: some 100 daguerreotypes, 400 calotypes, more than 10,000 original prints by identified authors, about 45,000 positives and negative plates (including several thousand autochromes). The photographers (by alphabetical order): Charles Adrien (1866-1930): portraits of women, autochromes representing alpine scenes, large glaciers in the Alps, Switzerland at the beginning of the century, etc. Georges Balagny (1837-1919) with his magnificent autochromes produced in the forest of Fontainebleau. Paul Bergon (1863-1912): one of the rare pictoralists to take up color images when autochrome appeared in 1907. Landscapes, war scenes, portraits of nude and draped women, etc. The Comte de Dalmas (died in 1930) and his magnificent autochromes of landscapes. Louise Deglane, wife of the architect who built the Grand Palais in Paris, developed the autochrome technique. She produced images of Tessin, the big lakes of Italy, studies of Italian architecture as well as French dwellings and landscapes. Léon Gimpel (1873-1948) whose collection is the most amazing of all, for it adds the pointillism of words to the value of beautiful images. He presents a chronicle of his time: World War I, small trades, photo reports on the cities of France and abroad (Venice, Berlin, Algiers, Lucerne, etc.), the history of aviation, portraits, etc. All the captions, written by hand in India ink directly on the plates, have been carefully noted and transcribed word for word. .Working as a true journalist, the author indicating the day, the month, the year, sometimes the time of day when the subject lent itself (eclipses, sunsets, etc.), with a great deal of precise information on the event and the place. As early as 1907, he was using 18x24 and 9x12. André Hachette (active from 1903 to 1947): autochromes representing portraits of young women, views of the Seine and of Italy. Général Edouard Joly, died in 1921. We can assume he was quite old during World War I as he left the S.F.P. several hundred autochromes taken at the chateau and gardens of Versailles during the war. Fernand Montpillard (1865-1937) whose several hundred autochromes show us the regions of Auvergne and Cantal at the beginning of the century, with their untouched landscapes and splendid nature. Antonin Personnaz (1854-1936) and his admirable autochromes, some of which are in 18x24 format: landscapes, portraits, still life compositions, etc. And also Marcel Hubin and his Alpine landscapes, Fernand Tillard, Etienne Wallon (1855-1924), Hippolyte Bayard, Edmond Becquerel (1820-1891), Gustave Le Gray, and others.

Access to the collection