A print of exceptional tone and contrast of one of de Clercq's most sought after, rarest and most modernist images.
On the original oblong folio mount, the title and photographer's decorative monogram in letterpress on the mount.
This print was originally published in Voyage en Orient, de Clercq's extensive six-album photographic survey of the architecture and landscapes of the Middle East. It was included in the first volume of the set, Villes, Monuments et Vues pittoresques de Syrie, published in Paris in 1860.
The photograph had been made the year before, when de Clercq accompanied Emmanuel-Guillaume Rey, the historian of architecture of the Crusades, on an expedition to Syria and Asia Minor. Djeba?l, now a part of Lebanon, was one of the oldest cities in the world and home to layer upon layer of architecture from a succession of civilizations.
The present photograph shows the massive stone foundation of a structure from ancient Phoenicia. De Clercq has monumentalized the edifice by photographing it at close range, filling nearly the entire frame. This very modern approach to composition and vantage point is characteristic of de Clercq's best work.
Fifty copies of Voyage en Orient were planned for publication, although prints are rare and only six complete sets have been located in institutional collections.