PACHECO, JOAQUIM INSLEY (c. 1830–1912)
Portuguese painter and photographer
Born in Cabeceiras de Basto, Portugal, in about 1830, landscape painter, watercolor artist and photographer Joaquim Insley Pacheco learned the daguerreotype method from Frederick Walter in Ceará, Brazil, before studying under Mathew B. Brady and Jeremiah Gurney in New York. He also used the ambrotype and platino- type methods and was “an apologist of photopainting.” Pacheco in 1854 founded a photographic studio in Brazil originally called Pacheco & Son (later Insley Pacheco) and returned to the US to photograph the Civil War (1861–1865). Renowned for his portraits, he was a fa- vorite of Emperor Pedro II. Appointed Imperial Photog- rapher on December 22, 1855, and dubbed a Knight of the Royal Order of Christ, Pacheco won over 16 medals for works shown at the Imperial Academy and national and international exhibitions. He took part in the 1862 London Exhibition, the Expositions Universelles of 1867 and 1889 in Paris, the Vienna Universal Exhibition (1873), the Philadelphia Universal Exhibition (1876), the Buenos Aires Continental Exhibition (1882), and the Chicago Exhibition (1893) among others. His pho- tographs won honorable mention in Vienna, first prize at the Oporto International Exhibition in Portugal (1865) and a gold medal at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (1904). He died in Rio de Janeiro in 1912.
PAINTERS AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Artists from the time of the Renaissance relied on optical devises such as the camera obscura as an aid to create landscapes, interior views, still-lifes and portraits. The way that a camera records a view differs from how our
eyes see the same scene. The camera image perspective is perceived differently, and the images are in sharper focus. Painters using the camera obscura knew this, and used this forerunner of the camera to meticulously render objects, and to represent depth and dimension on the flat surface of canvas.
With the invention of the daguerreotype, the image captured by the camera was no longer fleeting. It now had the same permanence as a painting and could be framed, stored in a case and shared with others. Some artists and critics feared that photographs would eventu- ally replace painted portraits and landscapes. Samuel F. B. Morse (1791–1872), who brought Daguerre’s process to the United States in 1839, believed that “Art is to be wonderfully enriched by this discovery. How narrow and foolish the idea which some express that it will be the ruin of art.” Morse was obviously correct, and during the second half of the nineteenth century, photography influenced artists both self taught and academically trained, in styles as diverse as Folk Art, Realism, and Impressionism.
The public began to look at paintings in new ways as a result of the photographic images that were available to them after 1839. Daguerreotypes provided likenesses that made the work of itinerant artists appear less true to life, and they were less expensive than painted portraits. The growing interest in daguerreotype portraits resulted in a reduced interest in miniature portraits in the 1840s and 1850s, and some painters of miniatures began to earn a living hand coloring daguerreotypes. Not every artist abandoned miniature painting. John Henry Brown (1818–1891) of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, did not even take up the art of miniature painting until the 1840s. He relied heavily on daguerreotypes as an aid in creating his miniatures which he sold for between $100–$250 to wealthy patrons in Philadelphia. This was significantly more that the three to six dollars charged for painted daguerreotypes.
While some artists stopped painting portraits as a result of the competition of daguerreotypes, most art- ists painting life-sized portraits quickly found ways to use the new technology as a tool to assist them in the creation of their work. Photography was recognized as an aid to the making of portraits by both Itinerant por- trait painters in New England capturing the likeness of local inhabitants, and the Academically trained artists in Europe painting portraits of world leaders. Paint- ers such as Horace Bundy (1814–1883), who found their clientele by traveling from town to town in New England, frequently advertised portraits painted from both photographs and daguerreotypes (Horace Bundy Broadside, March 1851, Dodge & Noyes Printers, New Hampshire Historical Society, Concord). Advertise- ments show that portrait artists made use of photographs in a numerous ways. They used daguerreotypes to paint portraits of deceased family members, or as a visual aid that eliminated long sittings for the subjects of the painting. Some artists, such as the Itinerant artist Erastus Salisbury Field (1805–1900) created group portraits of large families from several photographic images of both living and deceased family members (Ruben Gilbert Puffer Family, c. 1857–650, courtesy Stephen P. Putter Family on loan to Historic Deerfield, Inc.). This type of photo-montage, painted in oil by Field or watercolors by other anonymous painters, often had the sitters appear much too small for the room they inhabited (Unidenti- fied Photographer, Campbell Family, ca. 1870 albumen print photomontage with watercolor, George Eastman House, museum purchase).
Photographers and academic and self taught artists began to paint over enlarged photographs in the 1850s. In 1856 Mathew Brady was advertising “large portrait photographs printed on canvas and colored with oil paint.” David Acheson Woodward (1823–1909), a por- trait painter and art instructor, patented a solar camera in 1857 that used light from the sun and copying lenses to enlarge a small negative onto large photographically sensitized paper or canvas. Many artists did not simply paint the photograph, but would use the photograph as a starting point, changing the background of the room, the pattern of fabric, style of the clothing, or expres- sion of the face of the sitter. Erastus Salisbury Field who was experimenting with a variety of ways to use photographs in his work must have been familiar with D. A. Woodward’s solar camera. Field, in his portrait of an Unknown Woman c. 1855, (formerly titled Clar- risa Field, oil on paper adhered to canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts) took an enlarged photographic image on paper (photograph on file at the
Museum of Fine Arts Springfield) and pasted it onto his canvas and then painted directly over the paper. Woodward brought his technique to Europe in 1859 where he influenced many painters including the French artist Leon Cogniet (1794–1880) who he met in Eng- land. Cogniet used Woodward’s invention to paint the full length portrait of M. Magne over a photograph by Andre-Aldolphe–Eugene Disderi. Phot-pientre was the term used by Disderi to describe his process of print- ing enlarged images on canvas. Cogniet also created several preliminary sketches of the subject—so the photographic image was only one step used to com- plete the portrait. Almost a decade after Woodward’s trip to Europe, Isaac Rehn’s method of creating solar photographs was described in the Philadelphia Photog- rapher, June 1868. The article reports that he prepared the canvas by brushing on a mixture of zinc white, egg albumen, ammonium chloride and silver nitrate. Most painters did not own a solar camera, but could obtain canvases with photographic images by sending nega- tives through the mail to photographers such as Albert Moore of Philadelphia who would enlarge the negative onto paper or canvas.
Political portrait paintings were more widely avail- able as a result of photography. Portraits of American leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, General Grant, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster were in great demand for display in public buildings and in private parlors. Mathew Brady’s Studio was a source for many of these photographs. Artists such Chester Harding (1792–1866), George P. A. Healy (1813–1894), George Henry Story (1835—1923), and Thomas Sully (1783–1872) all used photographs to paint political portraits. George Healy’s The Peacemakers (White House Collection) painted in 1868 shows a meeting that took place three years earlier. Healy used life sketches he made of Lincoln in 1862 and Brady’s studio photographs of Lincoln, General Grant (1864, Library of Congress), General Sherman and Admiral Porter to paint this scene.
By the late 1840s, landscape artists began to alter the way they painted as a direct result of their exposure to landscape photographs. The ways that landscape paint- ers were influenced by photography is wide-ranging. Calotypes and Collodion prints that blurred leaves on trees and placed areas of light and shadow into flat plans influenced Jean Baptiste Camille Corot’s (1796–1875) paintings. Corot was part of a group of painters and photographers working in the forest near Arras, France. This group tended to prefer romantic naturalism which presented the spirit of nature in vague forms and soft focus. The photographer Adalbert Cuvelier and the painter/photographer Constant Dutilleux were among this group.
de Gaillard, Paul. Portrait of a Woman Seated in Profile. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles © The J. Paul Getty Museum.
Later in the nineteenth century, the United States Geographical and Geological expositions often included both painters and photographers, and they influenced each others work. The painter Thomas Moran (1837– 1926) and photographer William H. Jackson were on the same exposition to survey the Yellowstone region in 1871, and Moran at times used photographs taken by Jackson in his paintings During the 1880s, photogra- phers Timothy H. O’Sullivan, William H. Jackson, A. J. Russell, Jack Hillers and Edward Muybridge frequently relied on the framing devices of trees and mountains used by Hudson River School artists like Thomas Cole and Frederick Church. Hillar and Muybridge often sought out high vantage points in which to set up their cameras so they could offer an above ground view like those often found in Hudson River School paintings (John Hillar Mouth of Zion Park, c. 1872–73, albumen print, Denver Public Library.) Muybridge also manipu- lated his prints in the darkroom in order to express the aesthetic of landscape paintings.
Albert Beirstadt (1830–1902) was among the first American landscape artists to be influenced by photog- raphy. He was familiar with the large western photo- graphs of Carleton Watkins (exhibited December 1862 at Goupil’s gallery in New York) and Watkins’ work encouraged him to go to Yosemite Valley. The work of Watkins and other landscape photographers most likely caused Albert Bierstadt to paint his landscapes from new vantage points with altered perspectives. Previously, Beirstadt had followed a tradition of landscape painting that placed the viewer’s eye level well above ground. Imitating the new photographic views, Beirstadt began to paint landscapes from the ground level looking off to the base of mountains that soar above the viewer as in Looking up the Yosemite Valley (Haggin Museum, California). The other type of landscape view that Bierstadt adopted from photography can be seen in Thunderstorm in the Rocky Mountains, 1859 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, gift of Mrs. Edward Hall and Mrs. John Carroll Perkins). In this work he placed the foreground, middle ground and distance all below eye level at the lower portion of his canvas. The way that Bierstadt painted the large rocks in Thunderstorm in the Rocky Mountains may also have been influenced by stereoscopes that brought dimension to objects in the foreground. Beirstadt’s accurate rendering of geo- logical and botanical forms leads viewers to believe that real scenes are represented in his paintings. His landscapes, were however idealized views that relied on truthful details.
The art critic John Ruskin (1819–1900) was interested in how photography could bring truthfulness to fine art. He studied daguerreotypes of architecture and landscape views in an attempt to capture their detail and tonal qualities within his own drawings. The Pre-Raphealite Artists, whose work he championed, used photographs as an aid in creating their paintings. Ruskin’s writings, however, encouraged artists to paint from nature and only use photographs for drawing or studies. As time past, he grew even less enthusiastic about photography’s role in painting, and wrote in 1868 that “I knew every- thing that the photography could and could not do;—I have ceased to take the slightest interest in it.”
Impressionist Painters and Photography
Impressionist artists had a close association with pho- tographers. In 1874, the conservative judging at the French Academy exhibitions prompted Claude Monet (1840–1926) and other Impressionists to exhibit their works independently in the studio of the photographer Nadar. French and American Impressionist artists, noted for painting out of doors (en plein air) using loose brush work, relied on photographs to understand the placement of forms, to capture particular times of day, and the changes of light and shadow on figures and the landscape.
The American artist Theodore Robinson (1852– 1896) noted that “Painting directly from nature is difficult as things do not remain the same; the camera helps to retain the picture in your mind.” Robinson first used photographs to create crayon portraits in the 1870s. He continued to use photographs as an aid in painting portraits and landscapes during his years in Giverny with Claude Monet. Robinson often used a grid on his cyanotypes or albumen prints as a guide to transfer the composition onto canvas. He stated that “I must beware of the photo, get what I can of it and then go.” While transferring the photographic image on to canvas, he freely made alterations such as removing or repositioning objects and figures. Robinson’s paintings
At the Fountain, also entitled Josephine in the Garden, c. 1890, (Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery) was one of a series of paintings created after photographs of this subject (c. 1890, cyanotype, Terra Foundation for the Arts, Gift of Mr. Ira Spanierman, C1985.13). His oil on canvas of Two in a Boat, 1891 corresponds to his albu- men print of the subject (Terra Foundation for the Arts, Gift of Mr. Ira Spanierman, C1985.1.1). Robinson used a grid on the photograph as an aid to transfer the forms of the boat and figures onto canvas, but omitted one of the boats that did not suit his sense of composition when he was painting the subject.
Nineteenth century painters were working from pho- tographs that provided tonal variations, but no informa- tion about color. Impressionist artists used photographs in the same way they used pencil sketches. Impression- ists usually remained faithful to the colors they recalled from direct observation. They had to rely on nature, their imagination and their talent as painters, to transform the photographs they used into paintings.
Portrait and landscape photographers often framed their subjects following traditions found in painting. Impressionist painters however, noticed that many pho- tographs taken by amateurs did not follow these tradi- tions and showed major figures, not framing devices, at the edge of the picture. This is demonstrated in many of Edward Degas’ (1834–1917) paintings including Car- riage at the Races, c. 1873 and Bouderie, 1873–1875. At times photographs captured awkward poses and cut off figures at the edge of the picture. Edward Degas noticed these images and began to purposely paint figures at the edge, rather than center of the canvas.
Degas’ accurate copying of photographs also resulted in a new somewhat distorted perspective in some of his works. His paintings, at times, show large foreground figures and a much smaller scale for figures only a bit further away. This exaggerated perspective could be found in all styles of painting copied from photographs. It was often a point of criticism, and was even the subject of a Nadar cartoon in 1859 that ridiculed the exaggerated foreshortening and impossibly large shoes of a seated figure with his legs outstretched towards the viewer.
Nude Studies Used by Painters
Nude photographs were used by artists as studies for painted figures. Eugene Delacroix and (1798–1863) Gustave Courbet (1819–1877) were both drawing and painting nudes from photographs by the mid 1850s. Eugene Durieu, and Julien Vallou de Villeneuve were among the many photographers in France providing nude studies to painters. Paul Cézanne used a photo- graph of a nude male for his painting The Bather, c. 1885 (Museum of Modern Art). In this painting, Cézanne transformed a photographic image of a nude male in a static pose standing on a rug (Unknown photographer, Museum of Modern Art) into a walking figure in a landscape.
The American realist painter Thomas Eakins took photographs of nude models for his paintings, and provided his students with nude studies of himself and others. The nude figures in his paintings Arcadia, 1883 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Swimming, 1885, (Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas) were cre- ated by copying figures from photographs. Sometimes Eakin’s combined individual nude studies such as his photograph of Susan Macdowell Eakins, c. 1883 (Penn- sylvania Academy of Fine Arts) into larger figure groups within a landscape setting.
Motion in Photographs andPaintings
Impressionist artists copied the blurred images caused by the movement of figures and slow exposure times in order to express motion in their paintings. This can be seen in Robinson’s painting Gathering Plums, 1891 (Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Eva Underhill Holbrook Memorial Collection of American Art) where the artist faithfully copied the blur caused by the movement of the plum pickers hands.
Exposure times of 1/50th of a second were possible as early as the late 1850s. The reduced exposure time allowed for instantaneous photographs of city life. By 1861 the London Stereoscopic Company was boasting that their photographs showed horses legs and walking figures “without a blur.” Stereoscopic photographs often showed these snapshots of city life with walking figures in poses not traditionally found in art.
Edward Muybridge’s instantaneous photographs in- fluenced a number of painters in the 1880s. Muybridge’s 1872 commission to photograph race horses in motion resulted in photographs that contradicted what had been depicted in paintings, and lead to his open criticism on the way that Realist artists such as Rosa Bonheur (1822–1899) painted horses. The actual motion of a running horse’s legs was recorded by Muybridge plac- ing a bank of cameras along the race track and taking a series of stop action photographs. The photographs revealed that all four hoofs actually left the ground, but not in a way actually depicted by painters. By the 1880s Muybridge was lecturing and using lantern slides to compare his photographs of horses in motion to fa- mous paintings he felt did not accurately represent the horse’s movement.
Edward Degas (1834–1917) and Thomas Eakins (1844–1916) responded in different ways to this new visual information. Eakins took a scientific interest in animal locomotion and his painting May Morning in the Park shows horses trotting in front of a carriage in
a manner demonstrating the influence of Muybridge’s photographs The Horse in Motion Abe Edgington trotting (photographic print on card, The Library of Congress) and Lizzie M trotting, harnessed to sulky, Animal Locomotion pl 609. (1884–86). Muybridge’s book Animal Locomotion included human motion which also intrigued Eakins. The American Realist artist was particularly interested in how muscles in the human body worked and used sequential photographs of figures walking to gain insight into how to paint a figure in motion.
Both Degas and Eakins, not only studied Muybridge’s photographs, but also took their own photographs of figures in motion. Degas was particularly interested in painting ballet dancers and photographed them to better understand how they moved. Paintings such as Carriage at the Races, c. 1873 (Boston Museum of Fine Arts), and Eakin’s May Morning in the Park, convey motion through the accurate rendering of the horses’ legs and also by positioning the subjects at the edge of the canvas to show that they are traveling across a landscape that continues beyond the picture’s edge.
More to Discover about Individual Artists and Their Use of Photographs
Painters found many ways to use photographs in com- bination with preliminary sketches or to replace pencil studies for paintings. Both Impressionist and Realist artists drew penciled grids on their canvas to aid copy- ing photograph images onto canvas. The French artist Jules-Meuenier projected glass lantern slides on to his preliminary drawings which he then transferred to canvas. Eakin’s also traced projected images onto his canvas. Other artists, including Eakins, used a panto- graph that allowed lines traced on the photograph to be transferred in a different scale onto canvas.
While most painters in the second half of the nine- teenth century found some use for photographs as an aid in creating their work, they did not always openly admit to their reliance on photographs to their public and art critics. During the 1880s, artists including Eakins and the French Realist Pascal Aldolphe-Jean Dagan-Bouv- eret (Photograph of the artist working at Ormoy from a model on The Pardon in Brittany, 1886, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Archives dela Haute-Salone, Vesoul, France) went so far as to pose for photographs depict- ing them painting from a live model, when they in fact had relied heavily on photographic studies to create the painting. Conservators and art historians looking closely at nineteenth century paintings, artists’ letters and journals will continue to uncover information about how photographs were used by individual artists.