TABLE OF CONTENTS

Nadar and the Republic of Mind

DURING THE MIDDLE OF the last century, the two best-known photographers doing business in Paris were Disdéri, who popularized the carte-de-visite, and Félix Tournachon, whose nickname, Nadar, became as familiar in his time as Kodak in ours. Portraits were the cash crop of both their studios, as for many others, because the portrait mode enjoyed artistic prestige and huge market turnover.

Let’s define a portrait as the picture of an individual or group whose character is either described by social, ethnic, and class affiliations, or may, in some measure, be invoked in contrast to them. Sometimes, in the history of the genre, the “personality” of the sitter has gained the upper hand, and sometimes, his or her status. More often, the portrait turns out to be an unpredictable composite image of both. Now, in the business milieu of the Second Empire, an important new motif got introduced into

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW at the special holiday rate of $45 a year—70% off the newsstand price. You’ll receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.