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Rare artistic daguerreotypes

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is presenting daguerreotypes by Girault de Prangey, an unknown master of the early 19th century. The works are on display until May 12, 2019.

Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey (1804–1892) was a pioneer of the, at the time recently invented, daguerreotype. From 1842 to 1845 the photographer travelled to Greece, Egypt, Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, producing more than one thousand daguerreotypes during that time. His oeuvre shows that he was not only one of the first people to document important sites of interest, but that he also applied exposure techniques in an artistic manner.

The Monumental Journey: The Daguerreotypes of Girault de Prangey exhibition offers a unique opportunity to get to know these rarely shown pieces of art. The Metropolitan Museum presents the author as the initiator of a completely modern conception of photography, as a means to store, retrieve, reassemble, and display our visual memories.

Girault de Prangey himself did not show his daguerreotypes in public and died in 1982 with no direct descendants. In 1920, a distant relative, Charles de Simony, bought Prangey’s estate and discovered the works carefully packed in wooden boxes in a storage room in the derelict villa. Only a handful of collectors and curators knew about the daguerreotypes, until an auction in 2003 made them widely known.

Further information available at: Metropolitan Museum of Art

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