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Still Life with Peonies

Charles Aubry, French, 1811 - 1877

Photograph taken in France, Europe

c. 1864

Albumen silver print from a collodion on glass negative

Image and sheet: 17 3/16 × 14 3/16 inches (43.6 × 36 cm) Mount: 25 1/2 × 20 1/16 inches (64.7 × 50.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds contributed by the American Museum of Photography, 1971

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Before his brief foray into photography in the 1860s, Charles Aubry had worked for over thirty years in Paris as a designer of patterns for carpets, fabrics, and wallpapers. His photography was a natural outgrowth of his profession, as he intended to sell his photographic still-life studies as models for architectural draftsmen and students of the industrial arts. In 1864 an elaborate presentation album of his large-scale albumen silver prints, including this still life, received a medal from Emperor Napoleon III, yet Aubry's photographs were not a commercial success, for French schools were not accustomed to using photographs as instructional tools and the prevailing fashion was for stylized rather than naturalistic ornamentation. Still Life with Peonies, which is typical of his work in both its naturalistic detail of flowers and leaves and lavish arrangement of forms, is one of three large-scale still lifes by Aubry in the Museum's collection, representative of the best of a small but select group of nineteenth-century French photographs acquired in 1971 at the time of the groundbreaking exhibition French Primitive Photography. Martha Chahroudi, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 225.

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