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Marville, Charles

Charles Marville, 1813–79, pioneering French photographer, b. Charles-François Bossu, name changed c.1831. An illustrator who drew mainly landscapes and urban scenes for use in popular books and magazines, Marville began making photographs c.1850, starting with painterly landscapes but soon turning to photographs of Paris. During the mid-1850s, he also made a series of luminous cloud studies. In 1862 Marville was appointed official photographer for Paris, commissioned to document the narrow, winding cobblestone streets, small shops, and tenements just before most were destroyed in the modernization undertaken by Baron Haussmann. A few years later he was commissioned to record the wide, flat, straight boulevards, parks, squares, gas lamps, and luxury apartment buildings of the newly gentrified Paris.

See J. Chambord, ed., Charles Marville: Photographs of Paris (1981); S. Kennel et al., Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris (2013).

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