Dry stamped with the signature "Giroux" lower left
Andre Giroux's landscapes are some of the rarest and greatest early photographs. Only sixty photographs are recorded.
Giroux, nevertheless, despite the acclaim, has a peculiar reputation. A prolific, award-winning, well-exhibited painter and draughtsman, his career spanned several decades of the nineteenth century. Yet, he is best known today for his few known photographs taken in a short burst of activity, principally between 1853-55. This is all the more surprising given his family friendship and business relationship with Daguerre, and the shared vision evident in all Giroux's work, whether it be oil on paper or canvas, pen and ink, pencil or salt print, and given the ways in which he blurred the boundaries between these media. As a plein-air painter, he often used oil on paper, not canvas, and then reworked the result in the studio, and as a photographer he was not afraid to enhance the effect of clouds or water by adding watercolour to the negative prior to printing, or embellishing the photograph itself by painting over it in gouache or watercolour.
But despite contemporary recognition of this inter-relationship more recent institutional patronage suggests a divided identity. Whilst museums such as the National Gallery, London, National Gallery Washington and Metropolitan Museum consider Giroux as a landscape painter, institutions such as the Getty regard Giroux principally as a photographer.