Salt print from a paper negative 32.5 x 44 cms (12.77 x 17.29 ins) 1853 JHG2634 Salt print on original mount.
Stamped 'E. Baldus' lower right and inscribed in the negative lower left 'Arc Antique a Orange'.
Exhibitions: Malcolm Daniel, Edouard Baldus photographe, Paris, New-York, Montreal, Ed. de la RMN, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Centre Canadien d'architecture,1994, p137
Literature: Malcolm Daniel, Barry Bergdoll, The Photographs of Edouard Baldus, New York: The Metropolitan Musuem of Art, 1994, pl. 13, p. 137
This matt salt print is a classic example of the type of grand architectural photography for which Badus was famous.
In 1853 Baldus travelled throughout Provence, recording the region's ancient and medieval monuments. Among his destinations was the first-century Roman arch at Orange, a site he had photographed two years earlier on a government-sponsored project entitled La Mission Héliographique, or photographic survey. This time, he traveled with a new, larger format camera, and he honed a mature style that would bring him recognition and that would create a new standard for architectural photography.
Photographing under diffused light conditions and on a scale that was nearly unprecedented, Baldus succeeded in conveying the monumentality of the Roman arch (63 feet high and 64 feet wide) while simultaneously registering the details of coffering, fluted Corinthian columns, and bas-relief trophies with exquisite legibility. While allowing the ancient monument to be seen in its modern site (road construction in the foreground, laundry in the background), Baldus nonetheless intervened, painting on his negative to block out the sky to make the monument all the most starkly imposing.
Another print of this image is in the collection of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. It is also comparable to a print in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago and a later print in the New York Public Library.