Introduction
 
 

Self-Portrait, Tuileries Garden (detail)
c. 1856
Collection of the Troob Family Foundation, Williamstown, Massachusetts
 

Édouard Baldus's photographs of the château de La Faloise have captured the imagination of museum-goers, curators, and collectors since they began to emerge during the late 1960s from a century-long slumber. Although Baldus was known as a photographer of architecture and landscape, these images, made in 1856, reveal him as a master of the country house portrait, a genre that has a long and distinguished history in painting. Until now, the air of mystery surrounding these images has been enhanced by an absence of documentation concerning Baldus's sitters. Forgotten as portraits of individuals, the dreamily evocative photographs came to represent a lifestyle in which landscape and leisure were closely intertwined. This exhibition brings Baldus's photographs of the château together for the first time and places them in the context in which they were created, a time of breathless change in the technology and status of photography.

 
   
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