The Pillars of Modernity. Edouard Baldus and the Classical Order

05.04.2018 • 20.05.2018

The Pillars of Modernity. Edouard Baldus and the Classical Order


We are delighted to present out third exhibition of one of the greatest photographers of the nineteenth century, Edouard Baldus. Highlights will be presented in New York from 5-8 April at The Photography Show presented by Aipad and in London from 17-20 May at Photo London, Somerset House.

The Pillars of Modernity. Edouard Baldus and the Classical Order follows our previous exhibitions, Baldus and the Modern Landscape. Important Salt Prints of Paris from the 1850s (2012) and Walls and Bridges. Edouard Baldus a Bicentenary Exhibition (2013).

The museum quality photographs in this exhibition have been collected over a period of fifteen years from multiple sources. They include many of Baldus's most famous motifs and are prints of exceptional richness, contrast and tone.

The selection allows one to appreciate the ways in which Baldus placed the arch and the column at the centre of his celebration of the architecture and landscape of France. In celebrating the legacy of these classical orders, Baldus's photographic vision emphasised the connections between the magnificent achievements of the Romans and the glorious ambitions of Imperial France during the Second Empire rule of Napoleon III.

In the photographs of Edouard Baldus the architecture of the Romans with their viaducts, aqueducts, temples and amphitheatres is directly echoed by his depiction of the latest engineering achievements of the bridges and viaducts of the new railways.

Beginning in 1851 with his photographs for the Mission heliographique, Baldus used a celebration of the historical legacy of France's ancient monuments, especially the Roman buildings in Southern France, as the foundation to become the photographer par excellence of the modernity of Second Empire France.

The more one looks at Baldus's work, from his first works to his last, the more one sees him return to his beloved motifs of columns and arches as he finds parallels between past and present and revels in the rhythms and patterns created by these repeating forms.

We hope that you enjoy the selection.

James Hyman

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