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Real/Ideal: Photography in France, 1847–1860

Between the first French publication on the paper negative in 1847 and more-streamlined mechanical advancements in the 1860s, dynamic debates were waged in France regarding photography’s prospects in the divergent fields of art and science. At the same time, novelists and painters were bringing everyday subjects—rather than idealized, academic themes—to the forefront of the artistic imagination, forging a new art for this era of social, economic, and political change. Organized around the Getty Museum’s holdings and supplemented with important international loans, this exhibition highlights the work of four photographers who were integral to the development of paper photography: Edouard Baldus, Gustave Le Gray, Henri Le Secq, and Charles Nègre.