165 Years Ago: December 1848 The French Second Republic, The Prince President and Photography, New Elements appeared in Sceaux.
With an estimation at 100 euros for a group of 4 daguerrian portraits, the auctioneer, Maitre Siboni, started lot 270 at 100 euros, as he knew there were two phones already, increasing 100 by 100. The bidding jumped suddenly to 5 000 euros, followed by 5 500, another jump to 10 000 followed by 11 000, another to 20 000 followed by 21 000 euros.
After the long race from 100 euros, one bidder on the phone stopped at 60.000 but someone started at that point for a couple of new bids. This image is 165 years old:
The daguerrian portrait is a small half-plate, 130×100 mm. It bears no stamp nor label. It has been open many years ago. A name has been added on the image with a dry point, at the limit of the oval frame, five six letters illegible, “Cr ? Gr ?.
The cased image is a portrait of the Prince President, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte who won the elections exactly 165 years ago, December 10-11, 1848 (with the support of Victor Hugo…). President of French Second Republic.
Context : The new constitution of the Second Republic, drafted by a commission including Alexis de Tocqueville, called for a strong executive and a president elected by popular vote, through universal male suffrage, rather than chosen by the National Assembly.
The elections were scheduled for 10–11 December 1848. Louis Napoleon promptly announced his candidacy. There were four other candidates for the post; General Louis-Eugène Cavaignac, the Minister of Defense who had led the suppression of the June uprisings in Paris; Lamartine, the poet-philosopher and leader of the provisional government; Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, the leader of the socialists; and Raspail, the leader of the far left wing of the socialists.
Is it related with the famous portrait by Gustave Le Gray which exist in several copies in major museums’ collections ?
In any case, when you turn the profile of the Prince President, and compare it with Le Gray’s calotype, it is tempting to believe they were created during the some phographinc session, in late 1848 or early 1849.