Autochromes Lumière


Antoine, The Founding Father

Antoine, Founder of the Lumière Dynasty
Marking the arrival of dry silver bromide plates, Antoine clearly understood that photography was soon going to become a popular art-form, available to all; and so he directed himself towards the manufacture, commercialisation, and industrialisation of this new type of product. On January 11, 1884, he founded Antoine Lumière & Sons, a veritable industry which, lasting 70 years, would be a world-leader in the international photographic market. Soon becoming wealthier, Antoine Lumière began to enjoy a lavish lifestyle. The Lumère family now holidayed in La Ciotat, Evian and the Cap d'Ail and in 1901, he built the Château Lumière in Lyon (which is today the site of the Institut Lumière). These expenses put the very existence of his business in peril and he was soon requested by his administrative counsel to leave the direction of the Lumière Factories to his children. It was a wise choice, and the business was left in capable hands. In 1894, Antoine suggested a project to his sons Auguste and Louis: to manufacture a machine capable of projecting animated images. By December 28th of the following year, they opened the world's first public cinema. Often staying in La Ciotat, Antoine dedicated the end of his life to his first passions: painting and music. He enrolled in the Harmonie Gauloise musical society and painted numerous portraits and landscapes. Antoine Lumière died in Paris studio on April 15th, 1911.