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The model and photographer of the Portrait of a Woman submitted to the SFP in 1867 by Tessié du Motay and Maréchal

Andrea Van Houtven

Résumés

Cet article identifie la femme assise du Portrait de femme comme étant Marguerite Arosa, fille de Gustave Arosa, qui a collaboré avec Tessié du Motay et Maréchal, les inventeurs d’un nouveau procédé de collotype, afin de créer la Société de Phototypie Arosa et Cie. Il examine la formation de ce partenariat via son acte de constitution, et en lien avec la présentation du procédé à l’Assemblée générale de la Société Française de Photographie en avril 1867 lors de l’annonce du lauréat du concours Duc de Luynes, et l’ouverture de l’Exposition Universelle où ils ont obtenu une médaille d’or. L’article traite de la formation et future carrière de peintre de Marguerite, du devenir d’Arosa et Cie et des relations de la famille avec l’artiste Paul Gauguin. Il conclut que le portrait est le résultat d’une collaboration étroite entre Gustave Arosa et Nadar.

Texte intégral

fig. 1. Cyprien-Marie Tessié du Motay and Charles Raphael Maréchal, Portrait of a woman. 1866. Collotype. Paris, Société Française de la Photographie.

  • 1 The exhibition ‘Un laboratoire des premières fois’ was held at the Musée de l’Arles Antique, July – (...)

1In a recent exhibition of photographic experiments and inventions from the collection of the Société Française de Photographie, and in a lecture on the SFP’s early mission to promote, document and conserve examples of such innovations, Luce Lebart has drawn attention to the delightful portrait of a girl (fig. 1) that was submitted to the SFP in 1867 by the team of Cyprien Marie Tessié du Motay (1818-1880) and Charles-Raphael Maréchal (1818-1886) as an example of the new collotype process they had developed.1 True to its purpose, the image was carefully crafted to bring out as much richness of texture, detail, contrast and modelling as could be accomplished through the photomechanical process it was designed to promote, for at stake was a showing in the coveted Duc de Luynes competition, a future business venture and even a medal at the 1867 Exposition Universelle. Set against a neutral studio background, a girl dressed in a dark plaid frock over a white chemise leans forward on a fringed chair and looks deep into the camera, head in hand, tugging at her right temple and eye. The lighting and sharp focus pick up the creases and folds of her clothes, the silky gloss of her dark, tangled locks, cascading freely over her shoulders and arms, the deep circles under her eyes, and her large, quizzical brow, wide nose and plump lips. Placed at close range and at eye level, the camera and model draw each other, and us, into a game of who´s-looking-at-who, and her virtual proximity and steadfast gaze seem almost to invert the roles of viewer and subject. The girl in the portrait is Marguerite Arosa (1854?-1903), the youngest daughter of Gustave Arosa (1818-1883), the quintessential amateur d’art and entrepreneur who was one of many to sense the commercial potential of the phototypie, and bravely toss his hat into the ring by going into business with Tessié du Motay and Maréchal around the time they impressed the guests and members of the SFP with this example of their work and won a gold medal at the 1867 Exposition Universelle for their achievements.

  • 2 Aline Gauguin (née Chazal) died in Saint-Cloud on July 7, 1867. “Chronology of the life of Paul Gau (...)
  • 3 Les Frises Du Parthenon (phototypie Arosa) (Paris: 1868).

2Arosa was by then a successful financier and associé d’agent de change¸ and an admired collector of paintings and drawings, chiefly by Delacroix, and of ceramics. To posterity, however, he is more often remembered as an influential figure in the life of the artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903). Sadly, just as Arosa, Tessié du Motay and Maréchal were enjoying victory at the 1867 Exposition Universelle, Gauguin’s mother Aline died, leaving Arosa in charge of Marie and Paul, her two grown children.2 Gauguin was then nineteen years old and in the merchant marines on board Le Chili. He would enroll the following year in the French Navy and return to Paris in 1871 to take up a job with the agent de change Paul Bertin, no doubt arranged by Arosa. Gauguin remained especially close to the family for the next few years, and in that period he began to paint, sometimes in the company of Marguerite, and courted and married Mette Gad. And though his relations with the family seem to have progressively soured, the works of art in Arosa’s collection and the collotypes he produced made a lasting impression on the artist, who time and again culled these sources for figures and motifs to work into his own paintings and sculptures. They pop up in his manuscripts, in his paintings made in Brittany and in Tahiti, in his prints and in his carvings. One frequent source was the collotypes of the surmoulages of the Parthenon friezes published by Arosa et Cie in 1868, using the process developed by Tessié du Motay and Maréchal.3

  • 4 Paris, Archives Nationales, Minutier des Notaires, ET/XCIII/729, 7 May 1867, ‘Société de Phototypie (...)
  • 5 Ibid.: ‘Article premier. Objet de la société. La fabrication et la vente de images photographiques (...)
  • 6 Paris, Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle, archives des brevets, ‘Brevet d'invention (...)

3To date, the Société de Phototypie Arosa et Cie has received scant attention from scholars. A look at its acte de constitution provides us with some much-needed background on the company’s activities.4 From this document, we learn that the partnership was formally constituted between May 1 and May 7, 1867, for a period of fifteen years. The object of the partnership, according to the deed, was ‘the production and sale of collotypes, and whatsoever else may relate to this industry’.5 It was established with a capital of 140,000 francs, one half in the form of industrial capital, and the other half as cash capital. Tessié du Motay and Maréchal were made industrial partners, each in an amount of 28,000 francs for their contribution to the business, namely the patent they had been issued in 18656 plus any patents of addition or improvement they might obtain. The partnership agreement allowed them to retain any foreign patents and continue to operate the company Maréchal et Cie they had established in Metz; in addition it permitted them to do business in the departments of Meurthe, Moselle, Bas-Rhin, Vosges and in Germany, so long as they contributed twenty-five percent of their profits to Arosa et Cie. The remaining industrial capital of 14,000 francs was attributed to Gustave Arosa, who was also named sole administrator of the company and provided his home address on the rue de Breda in Paris as its registered office. In practice, though, the company would operate out of Saint Cloud, where his family owned several properties.

  • 7 His father Francisco Arosa was born in Madrid in 1786 and crossed the border into France during the (...)
  • 8 Emilio Castelar, Historia del año 1883 (Madrid: Oficinas de la Ilustración Española y Americana, 18 (...)
  • 9 Catalogue des tableaux modernes composant la collection de M. G. Arosa: dont la vente aura lieu Hot (...)
  • 10 Auguste Demmin, Histoire de la céramique en planches phototypiques inaltérables avec texte explic (...)

4The 70,000 francs in cash capital were provided by Arosa and five other partners. Two of these partners were Spanish: Casto Belaunde, who was the only partner to contribute 20,000 francs, and Eduardo Santos, who contributed 10,000 francs, the same amount as the rest of the partners. Of course, Arosa was of part-Spanish origin7 and was active within the Spanish émigré community in France. The Spanish politician and intellectual Emilio Castelar fondly remembered Arosa as a host to Spaniards who came to Paris in exile, as he himself had done in 1867 and again in 1874.8 Indeed, in the partnership agreement, both Belaunde and Santos are listed as residing at Arosa’s address on the rue de Breda, suggesting that they had recently arrived in the French capital and as yet had no fixed address. The three other partners were Paul Bertin, the agent de change who later employed Gauguin; Arosa’s father-in-law Réséda Pêche Levolle; and Maurice Monjean, the director of the Collège Chaptal. A modest yet discerning collector, Monjean purchased a Corot at Arosa’s sale of paintings in 1878,9 and two Chinese cloisonné enamel objects that belonged to him were featured in Auguste Demmin’s Histoire de la Céramique, published in 1875 with pictures by Arosa et Cie.10

  • 11 Exposition Universelle, Liste des récompenses décernées le 1er juillet et le 1er novembre (Paris : (...)
  • 12 Lebart, op. cit., n. 1, 99-106. Alphonse Davanne, “Rapport de la commission chargée de décerner le (...)
  • 13 Davanne, ibid, 108-09.

5The timing of the constitution of the partnership is revealing. The Société de Phototypie Arosa et Cie was established barely one month after the general assembly of the SFP on April 5th, 1867, where the winner of the Duc de Luynes competition was announced, and two months before Tessié du Motay and Maréchal were publicly awarded a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle.11 Honoré d’Albert, duc de Luynes, had initiated a competition at the SFP in 1856, with a prize of 8,000 francs, to encourage the development of a photomechanical reproduction process that could best achieve the permanence and stability of a photographic image. The competition was originally supposed to go on until July 1859, but for various reasons, it was prolonged twice, first to April 1864, and finally to April 1867. With the list of candidates officially closed in April 1864, Tessié du Motay and Maréchal were not actually in the running for the prize, which ultimately went to Alphonse Poitevin; however, in the spirit of the competition, the SFP wanted to acknowledge more recent advances in field, and it is in this context that the team presented this collotype, along with other examples of their new process.12 Their work was signaled out in the rapport on the Duc de Luynes prize that Alphonse Davanne delivered at the April 5th session as a promising advance of the collotype processes developed by Poitevin and Pretsch, and the portraits they had submitted to the SFP were praised for their fine modelling.13

  • 14 “Procès-verbal de la séance du 5 Avril 1867,” ibid., 85.
  • 15 ibid, 86.

6The announcement of the winner of the Duc de Luynes competition was opportunely scheduled to coincide with the opening of the 1867 Exposition Universelle on April 1st. The programming of the session on April 5th allowed the luminaries of the field that had come from abroad to attend the opening of the Exposition Universelle to also be present as guests at the SFP’s general assembly. Indeed, members of the international jury for the photography section of the Exposition Universelle, such as the founding member of the Viennese Photographische Gesellschaft Achilles Melingo von Saginth and the German photo-chemist Hermann Wilhelm Vogel were present at the SFP session, as were other notable figures such as Peter Wilhelm Friedrich von Voigtländer, and Walter Bentley Woodbury, who like Tessié du Motay and Maréchal had submitted examples of his work to the SFP and was praised for his results.14 Furthermore, as Martin Laulerie informed the general assembly, the Exposition’s international jury had already met that same day, and would be meeting again on April 10th and 11th.15 So although the public announcement would come later, it seems plausible that by early April it had become clear within the field that Tessié du Motay and Maréchal would be awarded the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle – where this portrait of Marguerite may have been displayed among the examples of their new collotype process –securing an advantageous endorsement from the community of experts and thus paving the way for Arosa to set up his business the following month.

Fig. 2. Nadar, Portrait of the Arosa Family. 1866. Private collection.

  • 16 Société Française de Photographie, online archives, 419 – Tessié du Motay & Maréchal, no. 7, as ‘Po (...)
  • 17 This image has appeared often in publications on Gauguin, e.g. Wildenstein, op. cit., n.2., 575.
  • 18 Archives de Paris, état civil, 9th arrondissement, marriages, 6 April 1866 and births, 2 February 1 (...)
  • 19 Paris, Mairie du 17ème Arrondissement, Service État Civil, deaths, 24 February 1903.

7This is not to say, however, that Arosa’s involvement was merely a posteriori. From the acte de constitution we now know that he raised most of the financing for this venture from among his friends and family and took upon himself the responsibility of managing the company, with the natural expectation of turning it into a profitable business. The sums involved were considerable, and an engagement of this sort does not typically happen overnight. And although Tessié du Motay and Maréchal were the ones to rightfully receive credit for their invention, it now seems that Arosa was instrumental in testing it out, studying its viability, and even helping to orchestrate its presentation to the tribunal of peers, since the presentation included this image of his own daughter which, according to SFP records, dates to 1866, and therefore had to have been taken several months before the events of April 1867.16 This is the same girl that appears in a family portrait of the Arosas taken by Félix Tournachon, alias Nadar (1820-1910), where she sits sphinxlike at her mother’s knees, her hair pulled back under a black bow, her deep-set eyes once again fixed intently on the camera (fig. 2).17 Any doubt as to her identity is quickly dispelled by the fact that in both photographs, Marguerite wears the same plaid frock, with its tell-tale pom-poms at the open sleeves set against the white cuffs of her chemise (fig. 2, detail). In turn, the SFP collotype helps to confirm the dating of the family portrait by Nadar. In the latter, Marguerite’s elder sister Marie appears with her husband Adolfo Calzado, whom she wed in April of 1866, and dangles a light-colored parasol in front of her, most likely to dissimulate her round, pregnant belly.18 A dating of 1866 means that Marguerite was about twelve years old. Though her birth records appear to have been lost when parish and civil registers for Paris from before 1860 were destroyed by fire in May 1871, her acte de décès states her age as 48 at the time of her death in Paris on February 23rd, 1903, at her home on the rue Juliette Lamber – less than three months before her old friend Gauguin died halfway around the globe in Atuona.19

Fig. 2 (detail).

  • 20 Victor Merlhès, ed., Correspondance de Paul Gauguin (Paris: Fondation Singer-Polignac, 1984), docs. (...)
  • 21 Ibid., doc. 2. 
  • 22 Ibid.

8Some seven years after these portraits were taken, Marguerite is mentioned by Marie Heegaard in the letters she wrote excitedly to her family back in Denmark in 1873 about the gatherings and parties at the Arosa homes in Paris and Saint-Cloud that set the stage for the courtship between her travel companion Mette Gad and Paul Gauguin. Twice Marie wrote of having posed for several hours for Gauguin and Marguerite while they both made portraits of her.20 These letters have regularly been cited as evidence of Gauguin’s early artistic efforts, though they are equally indicative of Marguerite’s future path in life, as she went on to become a dedicated artist in her own right, mostly on the Salon circuit, for some twenty-odd years from about 1881 until her death in 1903. Gauguin also mentions Marguerite in a letter he wrote to Marie Heegaard’s mother after his son Emil’s birth in 1874, happy to report that she seemed much recovered from her anemia after a trip to a seaside village in Brittany with her parents.21 Perhaps those troubling dark circles under her eyes in the portrait are an early sign of a condition he refers to as ´an ailment that is specific to our century and to Paris´ [cette maladie particulière à notre siècle et à Paris].22

  • 23 Jean-Jacques Fernier, Chantal Humbert, and Marie-Chantal Nessler, Amand Gautier (1825-1894): une am (...)
  • 24 Marguerite sold a portrait by Gautier, along with some works that had originally belonged to her fa (...)
  • 25 The inscription on the painting reads ‘à son ami G. Arosa F. BARRIAS’. A lesser quality reproductio (...)

9On the basis of these letters, Marguerite is also occasionally credited with having helped Gauguin master some of the rudiments of drawing and painting within the convivial atmosphere of the Arosa household. After all, it was she, not Gauguin, who in the early 1870s had had the benefit of training, be it of the only kind then available to young women: private instruction from painters of a certain prestige, in this case hand-picked by her father from within his wide circle of artist friends. One of her teachers was Félix Barrias, the academic painter and winner of the Prix de Rome who for decades trained countless artists for a future Salon career in his busy atelier. Another was Amand Gautier, a moderately successful painter and printmaker who some twenty years earlier had aligned with Courbet and the Realists, and later developed friendships within the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist circles, but is not known to have had any pupils other than Marguerite, whom he taught in exchange for housing in Saint-Cloud provided by her father.23 Either to please him, or attracted by the young model we now come to appreciate in the photograph, Barrias and Gautier each painted portraits of Marguerite in the early 1870s. Though Gautier’s portrait remains untraced,24 we do have a black and white reproduction of the Barrias portrait, a quickly sketched image that the artist dedicated to her father (fig. 3).25 No longer a girl but a modern young woman, Marguerite reclines sideways on a sofa, the bold vertical stripes of her dress accentuating the elegant length of her form. With her right arm perched seductively on the frame of the sofa, she rests her head on her left hand, and raises her glance from the large open book in front of her just long enough to appraise the viewer, coolly yet intently. She now strikes a pose with the ease and confidence that stem from years of modelling for family and friends, a more mature sense of self and a more conscious understanding, as a budding painter, of how to create appeal for the idealizing brush of a fellow artist.

Fig. 3. Félix Barrias, Portrait of Marguerite Arosa. 1870s. Signed and dedicated to G. Arosa. Measurements and current whereabouts unknown. Reproduction: Moreno Archives, IPCE, Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.

  • 26 Francisco Rodríguez de la Torre, ‘Arosa, Margarita,’ in Diccionario biográfico español (Madrid: Rea (...)
  • 27 Raymonde Moulin, ‘Les amis bourgeois des arts. Les expositions des beaux-arts en province, 1885-87, (...)
  • 28 Pierre Sanchez, Dictionnaire de l’Union des femmes peintres et sculpteurs (1882-1965), vol. 1 (Dijo (...)

10Charming and full of character as she was, Marguerite Arosa did not go on to participate in the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements, and no substantial record of a lasting friendship between her and Gauguin has been found. Consequently, her career has gone virtually unnoticed, except in Spain, where she is considered – wrongly – a Spanish artist; so much so, in fact, that she has even been included in the recently-published dictionary of national biography.26 Marguerite did exhibit in Spain on a handful of occasions, including three times at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid, where twice she received honorable mentions from the jury. Yet in overall significance her presence in Spain pales in comparison with her record of exhibitions in France, where she showed almost yearly from 1881 until 1902 at the Salons of Paris, Lyon, Dijon, Rouen, Le Havre… and in countless exhibitions across the country, at one point even rivalling Louise Abbéma in number of distinctions received.27 Marguerite began ambitiously in the 1880’s by exhibiting a series of nudes, but shifted her focus to landscapes and seascapes around 1890. That year was also the first time she exhibited at the Salon des Femmes and became an active member of the Union des Femmes Peintres et Sculpteurs, taking on the responsibilities of secretary of the organization around 1896.28 Her true place is within the generation of women artists in France who fought for greater professional recognition for themselves and equal access to the Beaux-Arts establishment for the women who followed them, but was ill-equipped to change course when the rumbling avant-garde began shifting the ground below their feet, and all too soon their efforts would be of so little consequence.

Fig. 4. Nadar, Gustave Arosa. 1850s. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale.

  • 29 ‘Procès-verbal de la séance du 3 décembre 1869,’ Bulletin de la Société Française de Photographie v (...)
  • 30 Wilhelm Froehner, La Colonne Trajane d'après le surmoulage exécuté à Rome en 1861-1862, reproduite (...)

11Meanwhile, the business of Arosa et Cie had met with limited success. Maréchal and Tessié du Motay’s collotype process introduced improvements to the dichromated gelatin matrix patented by Poitevin in 1855 and made it more adherent to metal surfaces such as zinc or copper plates, while preserving its hygroscopic properties. When exposed to light through the negative, the gelatin would harden and become more water-repellent and more oil-absorbent in the areas that had received more light through the negative, whereas the areas that received less light remained softer, less water-repellent and less oil-absorbent. Thus, when an oil-based ink was applied to the plate with a roller, the amount of ink the gelatin absorbed was proportional to the amount of light it had received. This process, as Maréchal and Tessié du Motay were able to demonstrate, could produce very high-quality prints with a remarkable range of tones; the problem was that it could not do so in very large quantities. This was an important limitation, but when Arosa created his company perhaps there was hope that the patent could be improved over time in order to increase the print run. Less than a year later, though, the German photographer Joseph Albert beat them to the punch by developing a glass plate method that increased the print output from a single plate fourfold or more. Within the photographic community, reaction was swift, and at the December 1869 session of the SFP, Arosa came out in defense of the process he had essentially bought the rights to by claiming that 250 copies of Eugène de Gayffier’s Herbier forestier de la France, with illustrations by Arosa et Cie, were being printed and that it ‘could just as well be printed into the thousands’.29 This, unfortunately, was not so, and advances in photomechanical processes such as the Albertype and carbon printing put Arosa et Cie at a competitive disadvantage in the burgeoning photo-publishing industry that Goupil et Cie and Adolfe Braun et Cie would come to dominate. Then again, Arosa may never have fully intended to compete in that field, preferring to focus instead on more limited edition scientific and scholarly publications such as the works he published with Wilhelm Froehner, formerly a curator of antiquities at the Musée du Louvre.30 Whether that was enough to sustain the business is another matter.

Fig. 5. Nadar, Rotating view of Gustave Arosa in twelve photographs. c. 1865. Albumen print, 14 x 12.8 cm. Paris, Musée d’Orsay.

  • 31 Castelar, op. cit. n. 8, 248 and 249.

12Discreetly subsumed into the larger purpose of the portrait as a demonstration of photomechanical innovation lies the identity of the photographer, who is not to be confused with, or automatically assumed to be the award-winning inventors of the new collotype process, Cyprien-Marie Tessié du Motay and Charles Raphael Maréchal. The critical reception of the work placed all of the emphasis on the end product, to the detriment of the photographer, who nonetheless played a pivotal role, since there would not have been much for Tessié du Motay and Maréchal to showcase in the collotype had the qualities of texture, contrast and beau modelé not first been captured in the negative. The identity of the sitter, immediacy of the image and unique rapport established with the young model all point to Gustave Arosa as the person behind the lens, and his future enterprise provides a compelling motive for his direct involvement in the making of an image (this one specifically, but perhaps others as well) that was designed to promote the very technology on which his business would be built. However, the quality of the portrait and the careful posing of the figure indicate that its author was already practiced in the art of photography, and this is difficult to measure in Arosa’s case, since we have no other clear evidence of his work with a camera prior to the creation of Arosa et Cie, and his later credits as a phototypiste of antique sculpture, plaster casts, porcelain and ceramics don’t reflect back on any particular ability to photograph flesh and blood. Writing after Arosa’s death in 1883, Emilio Castelar, who had been a frequent visitor at his homes in Paris and Saint-Cloud, evokes Arosa as a kind of artistic bricoleur, as someone who delighted in the object – as befits a collector – and even goes so far as to praise Arosa as an exceptional artist, and un artista de primer orden.31 These fine words are an important sign of Arosa’s creative spirit and hands-on approach, but they don`t confirm any specific skills related to photography.

Fig. 6. Nadar, Rotating self-portrait in twelve photographs. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, département des estampes et de la photographie (Banque d’images de la BN, cote cliché RC-A-47107).

  • 32 The photograph is dated c. 1865 and identified by Paul Nadar in an inscription on the mount. http:/ (...)

13A more likely scenario is that for his purposes Arosa enlisted the help of a more seasoned photographer; specifically, Nadar. Their acquaintance went back at least ten years, to when Nadar first photographed Arosa (fig. 4), but a greater testimony of their friendship and joint experimentation is the rotating view of Arosa in twelve photographs (fig. 5) which is quite obviously related to Nadar’s famous rotating self-portrait, or photosculpture (fig. 6) and like the Arosa family portrait by Nadar mentioned earlier, dates to the mid-1860s.32 So on second thought, perhaps the similarities in dress and age between Marguerite in the collotype portrait and Marguerite in the family portrait are more than coincidental, and do more than just help us identify her as the sitter. The backdrop and lighting tell us that the photograph was taken in a studio setting, and a chair with a fringed backrest like the one that peaks out from beneath Marguerite’s arm and the folds of dark cloth draped over it was one of the most common props in Nadar’s portraits. In fact, the portrait of Marguerite bears a striking resemblance to at least two portraits by Nadar where the sitters occupy this same chair. The first of these is his portrait Alexandre Manceau (1817-1865), the last companion of the writer Georges Sand, apparently taken within the last years of his life (fig. 7). The second is an undated but probably later portrait of viscount Ludovic-Napoleón Lepic, the artist, archaeologist and friend of Degas, who also portrayed him on several occasions (fig. 8). In all three portraits, the sitters adopt the same conventional pensive pose with forearm and elbow resting on the chair’s fringed backrest, which is placed at an angle and projects into the viewer’s space. The dark cloth in the portrait of Marguerite is used to balance out the figure and composition, and take the place visually of a second leg, since unlike the gentlemen in the portraits, as a young lady she could not very well appear to be straddling a chair. With their heads tilted to the side and slightly angled bodies, the male sitters seem wistful and somewhat detached, whereas Marguerite leans forward, to meet the viewer square on. More broadly speaking though, it is the portrait’s psychological acuity that is closest to Nadar’s ethos, and the willingness it shows to let the inner life of a child seep through the collodion, so to speak – formality broken by unscripted expression, temperamental half-frown vainly repressing childish delight, a steely gaze that both challenges and inquires – that most resemble his approach to the subject.

Fig. 7. Nadar, Alexandre Manceau. Before 1865. Albumen print, 8.50 x 5.80 cm. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale.

14The similarities between these portraits speak for themselves. However, as far as we know, Nadar did not have a direct stake in Arosa’s business, or at least, not according to the acte de constitution. And it seems strange that he would have gone uncredited, or accepted anonymity if he was the sole author of an image that was submitted to the SFP in the context of the prestigious Duc de Luynes competition and possibly exhibited at the Exposition Universelle. So perhaps it makes more sense to view the portrait as a kind of collaboration between Arosa and Nadar, with Arosa suggesting the model, providing the general concept and defining the desired effect, and Nadar supplying the know-how and the execution. Thus, in historical terms, the image is much more than a record of the prize-winning innovation in photo-printing by Tessié du Motay and Maréchal. It tells us something more about the three other individuals involved in its making: Gustave Arosa, Marguerite Arosa and Nadar. And it provides an additional element towards understanding the creative and experimental environment that stimulated Gauguin in his early years, which despite all his efforts to deny it, remained present in his art to the end of his days.

Fig. 8. Nadar, Viscount Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic. Albumen print, 8.50 x 5.80 cm. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale.

Notes

1 The exhibition ‘Un laboratoire des premières fois’ was held at the Musée de l’Arles Antique, July – September 2012; Luce Lebart, “Reflections on the history of the conservation and archiving of photography,” in CoMa 2013. Safeguarding image collections, ed. Hilke Arijs (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014) 100, fig. 4.

2 Aline Gauguin (née Chazal) died in Saint-Cloud on July 7, 1867. “Chronology of the life of Paul Gauguin and the painters and dealers that were close to him,” in Daniel Wildenstein, Gauguin. A savage in the making; catalogue raisonné of paintings (1873-1888) (Milan: Skira, 2002) vol. II, 570.

3 Les Frises Du Parthenon (phototypie Arosa) (Paris: 1868).

4 Paris, Archives Nationales, Minutier des Notaires, ET/XCIII/729, 7 May 1867, ‘Société de Phototypie Arosa et Cie.’

5 Ibid.: ‘Article premier. Objet de la société. La fabrication et la vente de images photographiques encrables aux encres grasses, ainsi que tout ce qui peut concerner cette industrie.’

6 Paris, Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle, archives des brevets, ‘Brevet d'invention de 15 ans pour des procédés de production d'images photographiques encrables au moyen d'encres grasses contenant des matières, colorantes ou des émaux vitrifiables’, 3 January 1865, no. 65730.

7 His father Francisco Arosa was born in Madrid in 1786 and crossed the border into France during the summer of 1813, settling first in Bagnères de Bigorre, where he married Annette Guindey in 1815 and where Gustave was born three years later: Archives Départementales des Hautes-Pyrénées, ‘Union de Marie Victoire Guindey et François Arosa’, 5 MI 352 Bagnères – marriages [31 October 1815], and ‘Acte de naissance de Jean Dominique Suzanne Gustave Arosa’, 5 MI 352 Bagnères – births [3 July 1818]). The family moved to Paris by 1821.

8 Emilio Castelar, Historia del año 1883 (Madrid: Oficinas de la Ilustración Española y Americana, 1884), 247-48.

9 Catalogue des tableaux modernes composant la collection de M. G. Arosa: dont la vente aura lieu Hotel Drouot, le lundi 25 février 1878, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 1878, lot 8, as « Le petit pêcheur » (ill.) ; Alfred Robaut, L’œuvre de Corot (Paris: H Floury, 1905) vol. III, no. 1726 (ill.).

10 Auguste Demmin, Histoire de la céramique en planches phototypiques inaltérables avec texte explicatif, part 1 (Paris: Librairie Renouard, H. Loones, 1875), n.p.

11 Exposition Universelle, Liste des récompenses décernées le 1er juillet et le 1er novembre (Paris : 1867) 103.

12 Lebart, op. cit., n. 1, 99-106. Alphonse Davanne, “Rapport de la commission chargée de décerner le prix de 8000 francs fondé par M. le Duc de Luynes pour l’impression à l’encre grasse des épreuves photographiques, » Bulletin de la Société Française de Photographie, 1867, vol. 13, 89-112, esp. 107.

13 Davanne, ibid, 108-09.

14 “Procès-verbal de la séance du 5 Avril 1867,” ibid., 85.

15 ibid, 86.

16 Société Française de Photographie, online archives, 419 – Tessié du Motay & Maréchal, no. 7, as ‘Portrait de femme’ http://www.sfp.asso.fr/collection/images/pdf/FRSFP_IR_tirages_TESSIS_DU_MONTAY_MARECHAL_0419.pdf

17 This image has appeared often in publications on Gauguin, e.g. Wildenstein, op. cit., n.2., 575.

18 Archives de Paris, état civil, 9th arrondissement, marriages, 6 April 1866 and births, 2 February 1867 (Alvaro Gustave Rañoy Calzado).

19 Paris, Mairie du 17ème Arrondissement, Service État Civil, deaths, 24 February 1903.

20 Victor Merlhès, ed., Correspondance de Paul Gauguin (Paris: Fondation Singer-Polignac, 1984), docs. 1.VIII and 1.IX.

21 Ibid., doc. 2. 

22 Ibid.

23 Jean-Jacques Fernier, Chantal Humbert, and Marie-Chantal Nessler, Amand Gautier (1825-1894): une amitié à la Courbet (Ornans: Institut Gustave Courbet-Association des amis de Gustave Courbet, 2004) 74.

24 Marguerite sold a portrait by Gautier, along with some works that had originally belonged to her father, in 1895; Catalogue de tableaux anciens et modernes…provenant de la Collection de feu M. A***, 17/18 December 1895, p. 5, lot 25: ‘Gautier (A.) (1874). Portrait en pied, grandeur nature, d’une dame artiste peintre.’ This may be the same portrait that Gautier exhibited at the 1874 Paris Salon; Explication des ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, exposés au Palais des Champs-Élysées, le 1er mai 1874 (Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1874) 112 : ‘778 – Portrait de Mlle. M. A…. ‘

25 The inscription on the painting reads ‘à son ami G. Arosa F. BARRIAS’. A lesser quality reproduction of the portrait was published by Joaquin Ezquerra del Bayo and Luis Pérez Bueno, Retratos de Mujeres Españolas del Siglo XIX (Madrid: Julio Cosano, 1924) 295.

26 Francisco Rodríguez de la Torre, ‘Arosa, Margarita,’ in Diccionario biográfico español (Madrid: Real Academia de la Historia, 2009-2013) vol. 5, 524-25.

27 Raymonde Moulin, ‘Les amis bourgeois des arts. Les expositions des beaux-arts en province, 1885-87,’ Revue Française de Sociologie, 1976, 17-3, n. 47, 401. Her Salon career can now be traced through the Salon catalogues and repertoires published over the last fifteen years by Éditions L’Échelle de Jacob.

28 Pierre Sanchez, Dictionnaire de l’Union des femmes peintres et sculpteurs (1882-1965), vol. 1 (Dijon: L’Echelle de Jacob, 2010), 102.

29 ‘Procès-verbal de la séance du 3 décembre 1869,’ Bulletin de la Société Française de Photographie vol. 15, 320.

30 Wilhelm Froehner, La Colonne Trajane d'après le surmoulage exécuté à Rome en 1861-1862, reproduite en phototypographie par Gustave Arosa (Paris, Rothschild, 1872-1874), and Terres Cuites d’Asie Mineure (Paris, H. Hoffmann, 1881).

31 Castelar, op. cit. n. 8, 248 and 249.

32 The photograph is dated c. 1865 and identified by Paul Nadar in an inscription on the mount. http://www.musee-orsay.fr/fr/collections/catalogue-des-oeuvres/notice.html?nnumid=50518 [retrieved 31 July 2015].

Table des illustrations

Légende fig. 1. Cyprien-Marie Tessié du Motay and Charles Raphael Maréchal, Portrait of a woman. 1866. Collotype. Paris, Société Française de la Photographie.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesphotographiques/docannexe/image/3669/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 312k
Légende Fig. 2. Nadar, Portrait of the Arosa Family. 1866. Private collection.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesphotographiques/docannexe/image/3669/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 124k
Légende Fig. 2 (detail).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesphotographiques/docannexe/image/3669/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 72k
Légende Fig. 3. Félix Barrias, Portrait of Marguerite Arosa. 1870s. Signed and dedicated to G. Arosa. Measurements and current whereabouts unknown. Reproduction: Moreno Archives, IPCE, Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesphotographiques/docannexe/image/3669/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 293k
Légende Fig. 4. Nadar, Gustave Arosa. 1850s. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesphotographiques/docannexe/image/3669/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 96k
Légende Fig. 5. Nadar, Rotating view of Gustave Arosa in twelve photographs. c. 1865. Albumen print, 14 x 12.8 cm. Paris, Musée d’Orsay.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesphotographiques/docannexe/image/3669/img-6.png
Fichier image/png, 157k
Légende Fig. 6. Nadar, Rotating self-portrait in twelve photographs. Bibliothèque Nationale de France, département des estampes et de la photographie (Banque d’images de la BN, cote cliché RC-A-47107).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesphotographiques/docannexe/image/3669/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 116k
Légende Fig. 7. Nadar, Alexandre Manceau. Before 1865. Albumen print, 8.50 x 5.80 cm. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesphotographiques/docannexe/image/3669/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 388k
Légende Fig. 8. Nadar, Viscount Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic. Albumen print, 8.50 x 5.80 cm. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudesphotographiques/docannexe/image/3669/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 354k

Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Andrea Van Houtven, « The model and photographer of the Portrait of a Woman submitted to the SFP in 1867 by Tessié du Motay and Maréchal », Études photographiques, 35 | Printemps 2017, [En ligne], mis en ligne le 17 mai 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudesphotographiques/3669. consulté le 13 décembre 2017.

Auteur

Andrea Van Houtven

Andrea Van Houtven received her doctorate degree in art history from the University of Maryland in 2002. She currently resides in Madrid, where she teaches in the undergraduate program at the Escuela TAI, a school for the performing arts, visual arts and film affiliated with the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, and at the Universidad Antonio Nebrija. Her current research project focuses on the Arosa family and Gauguin’s early environment. Her publications include articles in The Burlington Magazine and Master Drawings.

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