Biography | Bibliography
“Originally a painter, Edouard Baldus was one of those who are sometimes called French Primitive Photographers. Like Charles Marville, Henri Le Secq, Gustave Le Gray, Hippolyte Bayard, Maxime Du Camp, and others, he pioneered in the early years of photography, using the medium with simplicity and directness. Much of his work documented architecture in France: he was commissioned by the Comité des Monuments Historiques to photograph monuments in Paris, Fontainebleu, Burgundy, and the Dauphiné (1851); he photographed monuments in Arles, Nîmes, and Avignon (1853); he made 1,500 detailed photographs of a new wing of the Louvre (1854-1855). With Marville and Bayard he photographed sculpture at the Louvre and Versailles.
Baron James de Rothschild commissioned Baldus to photograph along railroad lines in France and these works created, according to Robert Sobieszek, “ a new type of landscape, and industrial landscape whose terminals, tracks, and bridges are treated with as much understanding and picturesqueness as any purely natural view. [They were significant because] the by-products of industrialization were as much a part of man’s environment as nature itself” (Jammes and Sobieszek, Primitive). Baldus was a founding member of the Société Héliographique (1851).”1
1From Lee D. Witkin, and Barbara London, Selected Photographers: A Collector’s Compendium, The Photograph Collector’s Guide, Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1979, 77.
Malcolm Daniel, Barry Bergdoll, The Photographs of Edouard Baldus, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994.
Arnaud Delas, Edouard Baldus (1813-1889), Paris: Societes de Ventes, May 2006.