Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College

The Human Comedy: Chronicles of 19th-Century France

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Charles Nègre (French, 1820–1880) Pifferari, 21, Quai de Bourbon, 1854 (Italian Musicians, 21, Quai de Bourbon), 1854 Albumen print from Collodion negative Gift of Paul F. Walter (OC 1957), 2008.36.124

Charles Nègre began his career as a painter, working in the studio of Paul Delaroche, who encouraged his pupils to embrace photography as a means of developing their com-positions. Nègre took some forty photographs of Paris in an effort to document the transformations the city was under-going at the time. In 1853, he photographed the Stryge, the same gargoyle situated on the parapet of Notre Dame Ca-thedral that was captured by Charles Meryon in his etching the same year. This photograph featuring two Italian street musicians, or pifferari, was taken outside Nègre’s studio on the Île Saint-Louis in the heart of Old Paris.