Misc.: 1839-1865 (Item 1 of 465)

Duchenne Faradizing Frontal Muscle

Opening: $2,200
Hammer Price: $7,800
Skylight Gallery 35
March 2013

Vintage albumen print circa 1862 showing the French scientist and photographer Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne de Boulogne stimulating a subject's frontal muscle with his specially designed electrical apparatus. The opening plate of his "Album de Photographies Pathologique" (1862). On portion of period page approx. 10.5 x 7.5 inches (27x18 cm), imprinted top "Photographies Pathologiques" and at bottom "Faradisation du muscle frontal, par l'auteur". Print size 7.25 x 4.5 inches (18x12 cm).   ( Inventory# id566a )

Duchenne de Boulogne's "Album de Photographies Pathologique" of 1862 is one of the first examples of published medical photographs. It contained 17 images, many of them apparently taken in the 1850s by Duchenne and using wet-collodion glass negatives.

The frontispiece image is one of the largest and best-printed images of Duchenne using his specially-designed electrical apparatus for the stimulation of human facial muscles. Duchenne's well-polished faradization device itself is seen on the table at right, with one electrode carefully held against the subject's forehead by Duchenne while the other I believe is gripped in the patient's hand at center. Apparently printed directly from Duchenne's glass negative and without reduction, the image renders crisply details of the scientist's alert expression, the somewhat apprehensive expression of his careworn subject, and other features of the situation.

A superlative image of the 19th century scientist at his work and reactions of his patient.

The albumen print photograph is in excellent condition, album sheet has scattered foxing.

Images and text copyright © 2001-2016 by Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs

Misc.: 1839-1865   (Item 1 of 465)