New York

Charles Marville

French Institute Alliance Française (fi:af)

A hundred and twenty-five years ago, when the Haussmann renovations were under way, one person who was not sorry to see the working class evicted from Paris was Charles Marville. As Maria Morris Hambourg points out in her catalogue introduction, Marville’s motives for undertaking a documentation of the Old Paris that Haussmann was pulling down have long been confused with Eugène Atget’s motives for a similar project four decades later. Marville was not enamored of the old quarters as Atget was, nor do his photographs bathe his subjects in the peerless light of romanticism that Atget was so deft at capturing. Marville believed in the nineteenth-century ideal of Progress that Haussmannization represented. (He was, after all, the official photographer of the Service des Travaux Historiques, whose job was to record, and legitimate, the city’s transformation.) Marville’s plan, which he carried

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