NADAR
Pseudonym of the pioneer French photographer Felix Tournachon ( 1836-1910). A friend of painters and writers, he left portraits of both, and these portraits make him a true precursor of modern art. Recalling his own difficult beginnings, as well as those of his friends, Claude Monet once said: ' Nadar, the great Nadar, as good as gold, lent us the place . . .' It is not the least of his glories that the famous photographer lent his studios to the future Impressionists, who organized there (from April 15th to May 15th, 1874) the first of eight exhibitions of the ' Painters, Sculptors and Engravers Company'. It was at this event that the word Impressionism was spoken for the first time by a critic who had burst out laughing in front of Monet canvas Impression, Sunrise. Admission was charged. The entire avant-garde was represented, all the painters rejected by the official Salon. In addition to Boudin, Lépine and some others, who had been invited at the suggestion of Degas, and who were to serve as a sort of guarantee, the future Impressionists, Cézanne included, were present in full strength. Manet alone was absent. Besides the picture previously mentioned, Monet exhibited the Boulevard des Capucines and Boats Leaving the Harbour of Havre. Renoir was represented by, among others, La Loge, Berthe Morisot by The Cradle, and Cézanne by his Modern Olympia, and particularly The Home of the Hanged Man. Pissarro, Sisley and Guillaumin were present. It was, with Press and public alike, an unprecedented scandal, but 'the good Nadar' was exultant, although he had certainly not suspected the historical importance of his generous gesture. All his life Nadar had the luck and the intelligence to do the right thing. His name will always be inseparable from those of the great artists of his time, of whom he has left unsurpassable portraits. Other thin his own Baudelaire, no painted portrait has exceeded in psychological interest his feverish Delacroix, his disquieting Constantin Guys, his Assyrian Courbet or his majestic Monet. With the same felicity he brought out the cautious finesse of Manet, the sensitive good nature of Corot and the moving melancholy of Daumier. In his attentive search for expression, Nadar always obeyed a strict discipline, which contributed in great measure to the perfection of his results. Thanks to him, photography sometimes equalled painting in the psychological interpretation of characters and faces.
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