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Édouard Denis Baldus

Landscape, Architectural Photographer

1813 - 1889 French, born Grünebach, Prussia

Edouard-Denis Baldus moved from his native Germany to Paris, in 1838, and continued his practice of painting before beginning to experiment with photography in the late 1840s. With the French government’s Mission Héliographique, he captured various monuments and architectural sites: vestiges of the past accounted with precision for architects and historians. -

Baldus coursed the dirt roads of the countryside by horse-drawn cart, moving from ruined castle to thatched hut, from pilgrimage church to paper mill, from town square to wooded chasm, through the fertile lowlands and rugged mountains of the Auvergne, in central France. Perhaps owing to the different physical character of this region, Baldus made photographs of the land itself, adding a poetic force to the graphic power and documentary value of his earlier photographs. -  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lacan says of him: “He is a painter, he knows how to choose viewpoints and how to direct your admiration. Each of his prints is a poem, at the same time savage, melancholy and harmonious, like a Lamartime meditation. He takes you to the depths of deep gorges…”. -

He changed from the calotype to the collodion process in 1854 and made for the government a complete documentation of the new wing of the Louvre in over 2000 detail photographs. Highly respected by the end of the decade, he received the Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1860. He photographed Paris again in the early 1860s, the last of his active work.- National Gallery of Art

Édouard Baldus was a French landscape, architectural and railway photographer.

Édouard-Denis Baldus was born on June 5, 1813 in Grünebach, Prussia. He was originally trained as a painter and had also worked as a draughtsman and lithographer before switching to photography in 1849.

Original article
Projects / Essays
Latest articles
Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860’, at Tate Britain
The gallery hosts an exhibition that offers a rare chance to see images made by one of the medium’s very earliest processes
The Photographs of Edouard Baldus (Metropolitan Museum of Art Series) by M Daniel (2000-06-22)
Edouard Baldus at the Chateau de la Faloise (Clark Art Institute S.) (Paperback) - Common
Edouard Baldus, photographe: [exposition organisée par le] Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 3 octobre-31 décembre 1994, Centre canadien ... Musée des monuments français, Paris, 1995
The Photographs of Edouard Baldus