Pl. 9 Plunéret (Morbihan) Robuchon, Jules Cesar  (French, 1840-1922)

Jules Robuchon, a photographer from Poitiers, France took thousands of stereotypes of the three regions of Poitou (Vienne, Vendee, Deux-Sèvres) which were reproduced as postcards but also as a twelve-volume publication, "Paysages et monuments du Poitou”.

Originally printed in woodburytype, between 1884 and 1895, Paysages et monuments du Poitou was published in heliogravure – two hundred and forty-nine to be exact – by the famous atelier, Dujardin. 

In 1893, the criticism was very clear: his work was “above all a work intended for intelligent salons, a work of high popularization, but more and more, if [we] judge by the issues currently published, archaeologists and professional historians will find food and pleasure there ”. Yet these illustrations clearly show the influence of the aesthetic canons of the graphic arts. The careful framing and lighting, which contribute to the construction of an atmosphere, make them take on a form more aesthetic than informative. The theatricalization, the attention paid to the material, the innocuous presence of men, serving as an element of scale, recall romantic nostalgia in the face of current modernity. While the photographs play their documentary role, they also arouse a feeling of loss in the face of urbanization and invite everyone to meditate on the vestiges spared by the changes in cities. (Chmura)

In 1891, Robuchon decided to repeat the experience with the five volumes of photogravures from images from Brittany in "Paysages Et Monuments De La Bretagne", but it did not meet the same success.

Robuchon founded the Syndicat d’initiative des Voyages en Poitou in 1905, he succeeded Alfred Perlat as a photographer for the Société des antiquaires de l’Ouest . He also forged a reputation as a sculptor. After 1900 he devoted himself more and more to sculpture and to the publication of postcards illustrated with his photos, which he sold in a shop-workshop on rue du Moulin à Vent in Poitiers.

Reproduced / Exhibited

Borcoman, James. 19th-century French Photographs. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2010. fig. 54.1

National Gallery of Canada Object No. 2015.099

La Vendee sous l’oeil de Jules Robuchon, Somogy editions d’art, Paris 2008, pg 30

References

Chmura Sophie, "Archeology and postcards", postcards from Rennes or elsewhere , posted on March 31, 2015 and April 24, 2015. http://cartes-postales35.monsite-orange.fr 

Borcoman, James. 19th-century French Photographs. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2010.