Château de La Faloise, Late Morning
Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts

On a summer day in 1856, Édouard Baldus traveled to the country house of Frédéric Bourgeois de Mercey (1803-1860), a painter, author, and prominent government arts official. There he created a series of photographs of de Mercey, his family, and other members of his household. Although one of the prints was exhibited in Paris during the winter of 1856-57, there is no other record of this project. Over the past 150 years, the few surviving prints have been scattered among museums and private collections in the United States, Canada, and France, so their reassembly in this gallery provides a unique opportunity to scrutinize them in all their exquisite detail. The photographs contain both visual puzzles and clues to what transpired during Baldus's productive day in the country.


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