Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs


Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat
A.A.E. Disdéri, Paris, France


Born on 12 December 1779, the daughter of a cooper, she was educated by her older brother, a monk. In 1801, together with Father Joseph Varin and three other postulants, she founded the Society of the Sacred Heart, a religious congregation devoted to the Sacred Heart and dedicated to the education of girls. She became Superior General of the Society at the age of 23, a position she held for 63 years. The society received papal approval in 1826, and houses were founded in over 80 different countries. Mother Barat died in Paris on 25 May 1865. She was canonized on 24 May 1925 by Pope Pius XI.

The photographer is André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri (1819-1889). The probable inventor of the carte-de-visite, Disdéri received a patent for the process from the French government on 27 November 1854, and was certainly responsible for popularising the craze. Remembered for having been the first to establish photography as a business as well as an artistic craft, his contemporaries considered him the outstanding portrait photographer in France. Although at the height of his career he was reputed to be earning a phenomenal £48,000 a year, in January 1872 he filed for bankruptcy. He subsequently found new backers and re-established a studio, at first in Paris and then at various addresses in Nice during the 1880s. For some reason he left the agreeable climate of Nice and returned to Paris around 1888 or 1889. He died on 4 October 1889 at the age of seventy, in the Hôpital Sainte-Anne, an institution for indigents, alcoholics and the mentally ill.


code: pm0025
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