food in the arts  


        MOLLARD Humbert de/Food in Photography/ Art Main/ MAIN
        (French, 1800-1874)
Humbert de Mollard - Stringing Beans, 1951

Peasant man and woman podding beans - Louis-Adolphe Humbert de Mollard


        Stringing Beans, 1851
Louis-Adolphe Humbert de Molard
Salted paper print from paper negative
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis Gift, 2005 (2005.100.263)
Peasant man and woman podding beans,  1852Salted paper printH.22; W.18.2 cmParis, Musée d’Orsaygift of Mr. and Mrs. D’Iray, 1980© photo RMN, Hervé Lewandowski

Humbert de Molard, freed from financial concerns by the wealth of his landholdings in Normandy and perhaps missing the activity of Paris as he settled in the provincial town of Lagny, took up photography in 1843, just four years after its invention. A clever chemist and skilled craftsman, he quickly mastered the new medium of daguerreotype and experimented with paper photography by the late 1840s.

Clearly attempting to create in photography the type of genre scene he admired in seventeenth-century Dutch painting and its early nineteenth-century French revival, the wealthy baron and gentleman farmer Humbert de Mollard posed his caretaker Louis Dodier (standing in elegant contrapposto, wearing wooden clogs) and other workers in a tableau of rural activity at his château at Argentelle, in Normandy.