Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Brig on the Water

Artist:
Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820–1884)
Date:
1856
Medium:
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Dimensions:
32.1 x 40.5 cm (12 5/8 x 15 15/16 in. )
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gift of A. Hyatt Mayor, 1976
Accession Number:
1976.645.1
Not on view
In later seascapes such as The Great Wave (1857), Le Gray would famously resolve the problem of capturing both ocean and clouds by printing his seascapes from two negatives-one exposed properly for the shore and sea, the second for the sky. This first essay, however, was made with a single negative and succeeded by taking advantage of the reflective qualities of sea, as opposed to land, and by suggesting the effects of twilight or moonlight rather than bright daylight. Brig on the Water was among the most famous and widely distributed photographs of the nineteenth century, enjoying enormous success in England as well as in France. A London printseller's advertisement in The Times in November 1856 made the incredible claim of "800 copies subscribed for in two months."
A. Hyatt Mayor

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Photograph: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions".

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Photography of Gustave Le Gray," June 4, 1987–August 16, 1987.

Art Institute of Chicago. "The Photography of Gustave Le Gray," September 18, 1987–December 6, 1987.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 1," December 4, 1992–May 4, 1993.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art–Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 6, 2012–January 4, 2013.

National Museum of China. "Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art–Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 8, 2013–May 9, 2013.

Baldwin, Gordon, Malcolm Daniel, and Sarah Greenough. All the Mighty World: The Photographs of Roger Fenton, 1852–1860. New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004. fig. 23.

Barnet, Peter, and Atsuyuki Nakahara. Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art: Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tokyo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. no. 78, pp. 135, 240.



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