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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Édouard Baldus

Names:
Born: Eduard Baldus 
Other: Edouard Baldus 
Other: Edouard Denis Baldus *** Historical error *** 
Other: Edouard-Denis Baldus *** Historical error *** 
Dates:  1813, 5 June - 1889, 22 December
Born:  Prussia, Grünebach
Died:  France, Arcueil-Cachan (a suburb of Paris)
Active:  France
 
  
Early French photographer noted for his architectural shots.
 
The dates for his birth and death given in reference works are often incorrect. He is also commonly referred to as "Edouard-Denis Baldus" but there is no trace of this name having been used during his lifetime. He was born "Eduard" and adopted the French spelling "Edouard" after moving to Paris.
 
[Thanks to Malcolm Daniel for this information.]

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Édouard Baldus
Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK)

 
  
Baldus was among a group of photographers selected in 1851 by the French government's Historic Monuments Commission to document the nation's historic and contemporary architectural achievements. He used 'mammoth plates' - large glass negatives the same size as this print - to photograph the recently completed buildings which were additions to the Louvre Museum. The results show superb clarity of detail while conveying the imposing scale and grandeur of the buildings.
 
Throughout his career he continued to photograph the monumental architecture and engineering of both historical and contemporary France. Baldus’s images are both powerful records of French landmarks and expressions of national pride. He was one of the most prolific of French photographers during the 1850's and 1860's. 
  
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Victoria & Albert Museum and is included here with permission. 
  
Date last updated: 11 Nov 2011. 
  
SHARED BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION PROJECT 
  
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
 
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.
 
  

Further research

 
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Thumbnail
Édouard Baldus
Autoportrait [Self portrait] 
1853 (ca)
 
  
Family history 
  
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch. 
  
alan@luminous-lint.com
 
  
 
  

Exhibitions on this website

ThumbnailÉdouard Baldus (1813–1889): 19th Century French Photographs 
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To coincide with the exhibition at the Lee Gallery (September 1 - October 29, 2007).
ThumbnailArchitecture: Missions Héliographiques 
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CLARIFICATION: This exhibition is of works by the photographers who participated in the Missions Héliographiques and NOT the photographs taken specifically for the survey. Further advice is welcome.
Theme: Documentary
ThumbnailDocumentary: Les Travaux Publics de la France (1878-1882) 
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Visual indexes

 
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Supplemental information

 
Edouard Baldus was born in 1820 in France. He was working as a painter in the 1840s when he discovered a love for photography. Like many others at the time Baldus was a pioneer in the early years of photography and much of his work documented the monuments and architecture of France. In 1851 he was commissioned by the Comite des Monuments Historiques to photograph monuments in Paris, Fontainebleau, Burgundy, the Dauphine, Normandy, Auvergne and Provence. During 1854-1855 Baldus created 1,500 photographs of a new wing of the Louvre in Paris and was commissioned by Baron James de Rothschild to photograph the railroad lines in France.
 
Baldus was a founding member of the Societe Heliographique and he was an early proponent of heliogravure, an early photomechanical process. Baldus used the calotype process through 1851 and in 1856 began using collodion wet-plate negatives and albumen prints. As well as his work with architecture and monuments, Baldus also photographed landscapes, sculpture, paintings, and the documentation of the Rhone floods. A major exhibition of his work took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1994 and the book entitled, The Photographs of Edouard Baldus resulted from this show.
 
(Courtesy of the Lee Gallery, Sept 2007)  
  
 

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer.Show on this siteGo to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online (www.groveart.com) has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
Show on this siteGo to website
The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA has a biography on this photographer. [Scroll down the page on this website as the biography may not be immediately visible.]Show on this siteGo to website
 

Internet resources

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The Photographs of Édouard Baldus: Landscapes and Monuments of France 
http://cca.qc.ca ... 
Notes for an exhibition organized by CCA - the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montréal, Canada. 
  
Édouard Baldus (1813–1889) 
http://www.metmuseum.org ... 
Highly quality biography of Édouard Baldus. The Metropolitan Mueum of Art (NY) had a major exhibition of his photographs that was documented with a catalogue by Malcolm Daniel, The Photographs of Édouard Baldus. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994) 
  
 

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

 
• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
  
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.52 
  
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Édouard Baldus.] 
  
• Weaver, Mike (ed.) 1989 The Art of Photography 1839-1989 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press) p.451 [This exhibition catalogue is for the travelling exhibition that went to Houston, Canberra and London in 1989.] 
  
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.77-78 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 
  
 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

 
• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.240 
  
• Naef, Weston 1995 The J. Paul Getty Museum - Handbook of the Photographic Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum) p.62 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
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