Nadar, Self-Portrait, about 1856
French photographer Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, known as Nadar, would celebrate his birthday this week, April 6th (1820) if he had not died 99 years ago last week (March 21, 1910). The date just provides a happy coincidence for the staging of this week's play. A play set in Paris, about 1860, when photography brings to light many provocative questions about representation and art. (The word photography means light-writing.)
I haven't yet written that play. The characters interest me in part because of their connections to each other via work, love, family, rivalry, inspiration and play. You can see a few places the characters overlap in the 'photo-essay' below.
The Players, all as photographed by Nadar.
Nadar, Berthe Morisot, 1870
Nadar, Charles Baudelaire, ~1856
Nadar, Edouard Manet, 1865
Nadar in The Giant, the balloon he flew over Paris to photograph the city from above, "taking photography higher than any other art"
Félix but Paul Nadar, his son, released the shutter on this photo of Monet:
Paul Nadar, Claud Monet, 1899
And, for good measure, a painting of one of our players by another. Berthe Morisot is the grand-niece of the painter Fragonard and the sister-in-law of Edouard Manet.
Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets, 1872
Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot , 1872
Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot , 1874
Édouard Manet, Berthe Morisot with a Fan, 1872
Edgar Dégas, Manet listening to his wife play Piano, 1870's
Edgar Dégas, Mary Cassatt Playing Cards, 1884
Edgar Dégas, Au Musee du Louvre (Miss Cassatt), 1879
Manet, caricature of Baudelaire,
Manet, Monet in his Floating Studio, ~1874
Manet, Déjeuner sure l'Herbe (Luncheon on the Grass), 1863
Monet, Déjeuner sure l'Herbe (Luncheon on the Grass), 1865