Salt print from a glass negative 44.5 x 34.5 cms (17.49 x 13.56 ins) c.1855 JHG9659 Inscribed 'no 92' in the negative, lower left.
Stamped E. Baldus on the lower right of the mount and titled lower left 'Pavillon Sully Nouveau Louvre'.
Mount: 61 x 44 cms
Image: 44.9 x 34.5 cms
Baldus's large-format photographs made using massive glass plate negatives are amongst his finest achievements.
Commissioned by the French government once again, Baldus was charged with documenting every aspect of the new Palace's construction, which was to be the Second Empire's largest building project. Consequently, over the course of two years, it also evolved into the largest photographic commission to date, and Baldus took over two thousand photographs ranging in subject matter from individual statuary to the grand frontal views of each completed pavilion, such as this striking example of the Pavillon Sully.
Baldus returned to this particular pavilion numerous times, his earliest images of the structure produced while he was photographing for the Mission Heliographique. The Pavillon Sully was originally built during the Classical Period of Louis XIV in 1625, and served as a model for the Second Empire additions. One of the grandest of all the completed facades, the Pavillon Sully acquired many sculputural additions during the reconstruction, but the central clock from which the pavilion derived its original name (Pavillon de l'Horloge) remained central.
The subject of this picture brings to bear the importance of the symbolism of the architecture of the Nouveau Louvre for the reign of Napoleon III, especially as this façade blends original sculpture from the early seventeenth century and its latest additions. With its main focus on the reign of the empire and its servants over the arts, industry, and politics, themes of Peace, War, Beauty, and the Renaissance inhabit the same space as Napolean I, as well as Loujon and Du Cerceau, two famous French architects involved in Nouveau Louvre's construction.
Taking an elevated view, Baldus depicted the Pavillon Sully with exemplary precision that is sharper than any contemporary enlargement. The result is one of the most imposing images of the Nouveau Louvre pavilions, giving the entire façade a commanding sense of presence as it rises above trees in the foreground, which are just blurred enough to reveal Baldus' long exposure.