19th Century Photography   Paul Frecker London

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The physical defects and unheroic stature of Napoleon III could be minimized by the brushwork of a Winterhalter, but the photographer was placed in a more precarious position. According to the Goncourt brothers, who admittedly scorned everyone: ‘He walks, he advances slowly, with small steps that glide. There is something reptilian in his approach and something chameleonlike in his movements, sleepy and glacial, the eye small, lustreless, and the skin around it wrinkled and creased like the eyelids of a lizard.’ Proudhon was even less flattering: ‘This man is badly built and physically ugly. Legs very short and placed askew, so that he trots…the sides of his body unequal and unbalanced, one eye higher than the other, the forehead without majesty or intelligence, and the eye dead.’ Disdéri here disguises the reputed shortness of the Emperor’s legs by seating him in large armchair.
condition: Excellent.
price:   not for sale
code: ad003
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Disdéri      Camille Silvy      post-mortem     

© Paul Frecker London 2003