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The First Photographic Interview
1886, 8 September
Photographica, 4 April 2011, Lot: 4315
Published in: Le Journal illustré. Dimanche 8 septembre 1886. L'art de vivre cent ans. Trois entrtiens avec monsieur Chevreul photographiés a la veille de ca cent et unième année. Paris 1886.
Folio (390x285). 8 pages numbered 281-288, 13 pictures in half-tone blocks by Nadar. Very good uncut copy. Photo.
Michel Eugène Chevreul (1786-1889), French chemist. Chevreul's scientific work covered a wide range, but he is best known for the classical researches he carried out on animal fats, published in 1823 (Recherches sur les corps gras d'origine animale). These enabled him to elucidate the true nature of soap; he was also able to discover the composition of stearin, a white substance found in the solid parts of most animal and vegetable fats, and olein, the liquid part of any fat, and to isolate stearic and oleic acids, the names of which he invented. This work led to important improvements in the processes of candle-manufacture.
He was professor at the Muséum national d'histoire naturell in Paris from 1830, and director at the same place 1864-79.
He also worked as director of the dyehouse works at the Gobelin manufacture 1824-1864. His studies on the contrast and harmony of colours was to influence the neoimpressionists. (See Wikipedia and Nationalencyclopedin).
Chevreul opened the interview with a cheerful remark: "I was an enemy of photography until my ninety-seventh year, but three years ago i capitulated".
Paul Nadar (1856-1939), son of photographer Felix Nadar, manager of his father's studio in 1874. The two of them collaborated with the interview.