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HomeContentsVisual indexesGustave Le Gray

Gustave Le Gray 
Fontainebleau, chemin sablonneux montant 
1856 (ca) 
Albumen silver print, from glass negative 
29.9 x 37.7 cm (11 3/4 x 14 13/16 ins) (image) 53.3 x 63.8 cm (21 x 25 1/8 ins) (mount) 
Metropolitan Museum of Art 
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005, Accession Number: 2005.100.47 
Curatorial description (Accessed: 10 June 2016)
Le Gray returned to the Forest of Fontainebleau in the mid-1850s with a larger camera and glass negatives. In contrast to the flickering abstraction of his earlier view (no. 62), this picture translates the experience of moving through the forest into a boldly orchestrated composition. Following the sandy road straight back from the picture plane, the viewer progresses from impenetrable shadow (probably emphasized by some providential error in exposure) to the foliage at the right, past the massive tree trunks standing like primitive colossi and toward the crest of the road and bright sky. But more than recounting the experience of an incidental passage through a landscape, Le Gray's photograph is a powerful drama about darkness and light, palpable expression of the unknown and the ethereal. 

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