Artist: Nadar (French, Paris 1820–1910 Paris)
Medium: Salted paper print from glass negative
Dimensions: 23.5 x 17.6 cm (9 1/4 x 6 15/16 in.)
Credit Line: Purchase, The Howard Gilman Foundation Gift and Rogers Fund, 1991
Accession Number: 1991.1198
A few years before he took this photograph, Nadar wrote a thumbnail biography of the fiery, combative man it lionizes. "The number one French critic … who is at the same time a poet, a man of style, and a man with heart. … I have read critical articles by M. Pelletan … that moved me as much as a passage from Sand and interested me as much as a novel by Balzac." Eugène Pelletan (1813-1884) was not just a writer, journalist, and orator but an effective political activist who served his beliefs with undeviating ardor. Nadar surely saw the government's persecution of this polemicist as a badge of courage, a conviction he so effectively conveys that we are surprised to find no medal on the man's breast.