Stamped in blue-green ink Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884)
This is the only known print of this image.
A particularly dramatic example, in fine condition, of Le Gray's extremely rare Egyptian work.
Gustave Le Gray was the central figure in French photography of the 1850s-an artist of the first order, a teacher, and the author of several widely distributed instructional manuals. Aged forty he closed his studio, left his wife and children and fled his creditors, travelling in the Middle East and settling in Egypt.
He joined Alexandre Dumas, setting sail from Marseille in May 1860, 'to see,' in Dumas' word' places famous in history and myth the Greece of Homer, of Hesiod, of Aeschylus, and of Augustus; the Byzantium of the Latin Empire and the Constantinople of Mahomed; the Syria of Pompey, of Caesar, of Crassus; the Judea of Herod and of Christ; the Palestine of the Crusades; the Egypt of the Pharaohs, of Ptolemy, of Cleopatra, of Mahomed, of Bonaparte to raise the dust of a few ancient civilizations.settled in Egypt Le Gray spent the last twenty years of his life there, never returning to France.
Pictures from Le Gray's years in Egypt are exceptionally rare and have very different quality from the more saturated works that he produced in France.
For more information on Le Gray's time in Egypt see: Aubenas, Sylvie. Gustave Le Gray: 1820-1884 (Getty, 2002)