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Octave Feuillet Adam-Salomon, Antoine Samuel  (French, 1818-1881)

Octave Feuillet (11 August 1821 – 29 December 1890) was a French novelist and dramatist.

Antoine Samuel Adam-Salomon (1818–1881) was a French sculptor and photographer. After becoming established as a sculptor, Adam-Salomon studied photography under the portraitist Franz Hanfstaengl in Munich in 1858. He became a leading portrait photographer. Adam-Salomon returned to Paris where he opened a portrait studio in 1859; in 1865 he opened a second Paris studio. In 1870 Adam-Salomon was made a member of the Société française de photographie and received the Légion d’honneur the same year. Adam-Salomon’s portrait photographs were considered to be among the best existing works during his lifetime, and were renowned for their chiaroscuro produced by special lighting techniques. The photography of Adam-Salomon played a pivotal role in the mainstream acceptance of photography as an art form.

Galerie Contemporaine is a milestone in photomechanical publishing. Issued in parts from 1876 to 1884 by the firm of Goupil, the series contained 241 portraits of leading figures from the worlds of art, literature, music, science, and politics by a host of Parisian photographers. The illustrations were printed as woodburytypes–a photomechanical process that reproduced the continuous tones of photography but did so with permanent molded gelatin. The speed and economy with which woodburytypes could be printed, as well as their permanence, made them a highly practical substitute for albumen silver prints in book publication or other situations where mass production was desirable. Galerie Contemporaine evolved into the most impressive set of celebrity portraits published in nineteenth-century France, forming a vital visual record of the leading figures who shaped public life, in science and politics as well as the arts, during the Second Empire and the emergent Third Republic.

Reproduced / Exhibited

Buerger, Janet E. French Daguerreotypes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. no. 74 (alt).