Autochromes Lumière

Antonin Personnaz, Pictorialist

"The field of colour photography is necessarily more vast than monochrome photography: any old landscape of banal lines can, when bathed in a delicate light, become interesting for the autochromiste." 5th International Brussels Congress of Photography, 1910.

Born in Bayonne in 1855, Antonin Personnaz Antonin Personnaz
Personnaz, Antonin Emile Gérand Jean, b: Bayonne, October 13, 1854 - d: Bayonne, December 31, 1936
was an importer-exporter by profession when he met Léon Bonnat, also a native of Bayonne. A portraitist and teacher at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he introduced Antonin Personnaz to the Parisian artistic milieu. Personnaz became a friend of the impressionist painters, whose works he collected. He acquired canvases of Camille Pissarro, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Albet Lebourg and Armand Guillaumin, whose coloured touches and figurative impressions broke with the pictorial school of the time.

He took his first photographs in 1896 after having discovered the work of Constant Puyo, head of the pictorialist movement in France along with Robert Demachy. But it was in 1907, with the invention of the Autochrome, that his work became truly remarkable. With the Autochrome he continued develop an aesthetic close to that of pictorialism. Concentrating heavily on the precise moment of exposure, he offered nothing less than a personal interpretation of the real. With colour, he took hold of the subtleties of light, dyed blue, pink and gold, and surrounded his images in a poetic ease. In his landscapes he captured atmospheric variations of misty undergrowth, frozen fields of cabbages and prairies bathed in light. These images were carefully composed and recalled the painted compositions of his friends.

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