Édouard Baldus (French, born Prussia, 18131889)
Salted paper print from paper negative; 11 5/16 x 17 1/8 in. (28.8 x 43.5 cm)
Louis V. Bell Fund, 1992 (1992.5000)
Among the most beautiful of all Baldus' photographs are the views of Boulogne harbor on the final pages of the album presented to Queen Victoria during her state visit to France in 1855. This one shows the elegantly engineered jetties that guided ships past the scruffy shoreline into the town's protective harbor and out again to the Channel waters. Bathing cabins have been wheeled out to line the distant beach, a boat rocks gently in the water, registering as a ghostlike blur during the long exposure, and ships dot the Channel. Baldus' true subject, however, is the seductive combination of water, light, and atmospherea subject that would become central to Impressionist painters a decade laterrendered here in richly colorful tones from deep eggplant to light peach on this matte-surface salted paper print.