Visions de l’Ouest: photographies de l’exploration américaine, 1860-1880
Collective work Exhibition catalogue
An exhibition in Rouen will show us as of 26 September the vision painters had of the Wild West. Obviously photographers also played a major role in the construction of a common myth, built with covered wagons, large spaces, wild Indians and breathtaking landscapes (the Grand Canyon, the geysers in Yellowstone Park). Especially since following the Civil War they were systematically sent by the federal administration to accompany topographic and geologic expeditions. Timothy O’Sullivan, William Bell or William Jackson are some of the names who left large prints on albumin paper the book looks at from East to West, along brand new states (Texas and California entered the Union in 1845 and 1848 respectively). As France has always been closely interested in America – and not only because of La Fayette – many of these images ended up in French collections. That was the case for all the ones in the book, which come from the BNF (national library), la Société de Géographie (the French Geographic Society) or the musée Niépce de Chalon, and which are shown at the musée d’Art américain de Giverny until 31 October.
• Visions de l’Ouest: photographies de l’exploration américaine, 1860-1880 (Visions of the West: photogprahs of the American exploration) directed by François Brunet and Bronwyn Griffith, 136 p., 2007, 35 €
Review published in the newsletter #58 - from 20 September 2007 to 26 September 2007