The American Heirs of Daguerre
BRADY, GARDNER, MORSE, DAGUERRE, RUSSELL, WATKINS &c. An extraordinary collection of 26 photographic portraits of leading photographers
Various processes, 1850s-1890s
26 photographs. Various processes. Many of the portraits were taken at the studios of the photographers themselves.
This superb collection of photographs of photographers documents the spread of photography from its inventor Daguerre through the art’s earliest practitioners in the United States and ultimately to the great photographers of the Civil War and the American West.
The collection begins with a portrait of Louis Daguerre. Portraits of American photographic pioneers include Samuel Morse, who brought Daguerre’s process to America, and John William Draper, the American scientist who helped to perfect it. Mathew Brady, greatest of all 19th-century American photographers, is represented by a fine CDV portrait and an image from the end of the war in which Brady inserts himself into a group portrait of U.S. Grant’s staff. Brady trained photography giants Alexander Gardner and Timothy O’Sullivan, both of whom are represented with stunning portraits. Finally, the collection includes runs of portraits of photographers who made famous portraits of Lincoln, associates of Gardner, American regional photographers, some with their photographic equipment, and photographers of the American West including William Henry Jackson and Carleton Watkins.
This remarkable assemblage of rare portraits, which would be impossible to duplicate at any price, vividly documents the lineage of photography from Daguerre through his leading heirs in the United States.
1. Louis Daguerre. Inventor of photography
2. Samuel Morse. Artist and inventor who introduced the daguerreotype to America and trained the first generation of American photographers.
3. John William Draper. Pioneering photographer who made crucial improvements to the daguerreotype and who took the first successful pictures of the moon and of a woman’s face.
4. Mathew Brady. Towering figure in 19th-century American photography. “More than any other American, Brady shaped the role of the photographer as a national historian” (Trachtenberg).
5. Alexander Gardner. Leading Civil War photographer and pioneer of photojournalism.
6. Timothy O’Sullivan. Major Civil War photographer who took the first 44 photos in Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the War, and later a major photographer of the American West.
7. Carleton Watkins. Giant of photography of the American West and “the greatest American photographer before Stieglitz” (Naef)
8. William Henry Jackson. Most famous photographer of the American West in his time.
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