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Hippolyte Bayard 
[Construction of the Galerie de la Madeleine] 
[Dessins photographiques sur Papier. Recueil No. 2. (ms. cover title) [The "Bayard Album"]] 
Salted paper print 
21.5 × 16.2 cm (8 7/16 × 6 3/8 in.) 
J. Paul Getty Museum 
Object Number: 84.XO.968.131 
Hippolyte Bayard arrived in Paris by early 1825 in the company of his childhood friend Edmond Geffroy. Like many others during the Bourbon Restoration (1814-1830), they left the provinces in search of opportunities in the capital. Geffroy came in pursuit of a career as an actor. While Bayard may have harbored artistic aspirations of his own, he soon went to work at the Ministry of Finance.
By early 1839, Bayard had begun experimenting with light-sensitive chemicals in search of ways to fix an image from nature on paper. He immersed himself in this nascent technology/art form that was soon to be called “photography,” all the while maintaining his job as a bureaucrat. As the population of Paris continued to grow through the 1830s under King Louis-Philippe, it spilled into neighboring towns necessitating renovations and new construction projects both in the center and at the edges of the city. Over the next decade, Bayard recorded the transformation of his adopted city with his camera.
The Getty Museum’s collection has two similar views of this building on the Place de la Madeleine—one probably taken from the grounds of the church, la Madelaine (see 84.XO.968.64), and this one taken from a closer vantage point. They document the erection of a brand new building in the heart of Paris that was to house the Galerie de la Madelaine, a covered passage that would be filled with shops going between the Place de la Madelaine and the adjacent street, rue de Madelaine (now called rue Boissy d’Anglas). It was designed by the architect Théodore Charpentier and opened in 1846. Bayard’s place of employment was nearby on rue de Rivoli. Decades later, in 1860, Bayard would open a photographic portrait studio with partner Bertall on the rue de Madelaine. As photo historian Nancy Keeler has written, rather than waiting for a grand unveiling, Bayard captured a moment during the construction process with the building under spindly scaffolding and the square in the foreground in disarray. This building, at 9 place de la Madeleine, still stands today and the Galerie de la Madeleine continues to operate as a commercial arcade.
Carolyn Peter, J. Paul Getty Museum, Department of Photographs
For further information on the artist and this work see:Keeler, Nancy, “Hippolyte Bayard aux origines de la photographie et de la ville moderne.” La Recherche Photographique, no. 2 (May 1987): 6-17. 

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