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Charles Marville (French, 1813-1879) was a pseudonym for Charles-François Bossu. He began making photographs with paper negatives in 1850 after 18 years as an illustrator. His career would last until his death, one of the longest and most successful in the history of nineteenth century French photography.

By the end of 1851 Marville had become a prominent contributor to Blanquart-Evrard’s photographic publications in Lille, and was already considered one of the era’s most inventive and accomplished photographers. He became the official photographer for the Louvre. In the 1860s Marville was commissioned to produce a series of views of the old streets and buildings in Paris before their destruction as Baron Haussmann completely transformed of the city. In the 1870s another commission was to record the new streetlamps. Also known for his pictures of the clouds above Paris, by the end of his career Marville was considered the official photographer of that city.

The exhibition Charles Marville, Photographer of Paris was held at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 29 September 2013 – 5 January 2014; at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 27 January – 4 May 2014; and at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 13 June – 14 September 2014.

Recommended reading:
Sarah Kennel with Anne de Mondenart, Peter Barberie, Françoise Reynaud, Joke de Wolf. Charles Marville, Photographer of Paris (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 2013).
Marie de Thézy. Marville, Paris (Paris: Éditions Hazan, 1994).

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