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Eugène Cuvelier (French, 1837-1900) was introduced to photography by his father Adalbert, whose friends and acquaintances included the painters Camille Corot and Théodore Rousseau. Both painters would later become witnesses to Eugène’s marriage in 1859 to Marie-Louise Ganne, the daughter of an inn-keeper in Barbizon, a small village at the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau. By the 1840s, Barbizon had become the center of an artistic circle of landscape painters who were interested in painting en plein-air. Cuvelier’s earliest surviving photographs date from the early 1860s, shortly after his marriage, and they demonstrate the close relationship between landscape painting and photography. He conveyed his painterly sensibility by remaining loyal to the waxed paper negative, a process by that time largely replaced by the quicker glass negative. The use of photography in the Forest of Fontainebleau by Cuvelier, Gustave Le Gray and others might very well have had a formative influence on the Impressionist painters who painted the forest in the mid-1860s.

The exhibition Eugène Cuvelier, Photographer in the Circle of Corot was held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 8 October 1996 – 12 January 1997.

Recommended reading:
Malcolm Daniel, Eugène Cuvelier, Photographer in the Circle of Corot (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996).
Daniel Challe, Henning Weidemann, Ulrike Gauss, Editor, Eugène Cuvelier (Stuttgart & Ostfildern-Ruit, Staatsgalerie & Cantz Verlag, 1996).


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