Eugène Cuvelier (French, 1837-1900)
Willows Along the Scarp River, near Arras, late 1850s
Salt print from a paper negative
20.0 x 26.0 cm mounted on 54.1 x 69.3 cm paper
John Chandler Bancroft, Rhode Island; Gustave J. S. White Co. Auctioneers, Rhode Island,1989; A New England antiques dealer; Private collector, 1989
Ulrike Gauss, Eugène Cuvelier (Stuttgart, Cantz Verlag, 1996), p. 149
Eugène Cuvelier grew up in the artistic milieu of Arras. Guided by his father, a skilled photographer, and friends with Corot, he studied painting with Constant Dutilleux, who took him on plein-air-painting journeys to Barbizon and Fountainebleau Forest. During this time, he transitioned to photography of the landscape and became a master, modulating light and atmosphere with admirable delicacy. In this view, Cuvelier delights in the gentle bend in the river on a windless day precisely reflecting the pollarded trees and sky, punctuated by three distant farmhouses. By this time, professional photographers had begun using the more modern glass negatives, but Cuvelier clearly preferred the pictorial texture of salt prints from paper negative, as evidenced by this quiet little masterpiece.