Henri Jean-Louis Le Secq 1818-1882


A founding member of the Societe heliographique, Le Secq was born to a wealthy Parisian family, and studied under the painters Pradier and Paul Delaroche, exhibiting at the Salons from 1842 up to 1869.

In 1845-46, while in Rome, he encountered Le Gray, whom he had met in Delaroche's studio, and in 1848 he began to experiment with paper negatives. In 1850, Le Secq photographed Chartres and Reims and in 1851 started his active membership of the Societe heliographique. La Lumiere very often reviewed Le Secq's work and he was very quickly chosen among five other photographers to take part in the Mission heliographique for which he photographed Marne, Champagne, Alcase, Aisne and Oise. After returning from photographing the cathedrals of the region in 1852, he photographed the beginning of the demolition of Paris.

He is best known for his architectural views, produced with a romantic sense of nostalgia. However, he was also a landscape photographer and in Montmirail, his wife's family home, he created a number of tree and forest studies. In 1854 he visited Dieppe where he took pictures of the boats at port. With Bayard, he was one of the rare calotype photographers to produce still lifes making his work popular to painting collectors. In 1860 Le Secq turned toward photogravure all while continuing his own paintings.

Most of his prints are calotypes preserved largely by the Bibliotheque Nationale and by the donations of his son to the Arts Decoratifs.

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