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Hippolyte Bayard 
[Self-portrait in front of garden] 
[Dessins photographiques sur Papier. Recueil No. 2. (ms. cover title) [The "Bayard Album"]] 
1845, June 
Salted paper print, hand-colored 
30.8 × 24.3 cm (12 1/8 × 9 9/16 in.) 
J. Paul Getty Museum 
Object Number: 84.XO.968.1 
By October 1840, a little over a year after several competing photographic processes had been made public, Hippolyte Bayard began staging elaborate self-portraits in his garden and other locations. His best known, Le Noyé [The Drowned Man], was made on October 18, 1840 (three variants are now part of the collection of the Société française de photographie in Paris.
The Getty Museum’s collection includes six other self-portraits by Bayard in addition to this 1847 Self-portrait in the Garden (See: 84.XO.968.20, 84.XO.968.166).* In five of the seven self-portraits, he placed himself in garden settings. This was, in part, a practical decision since natural light was required to make photographs at the time. However, his choice of setting also reflects his passion for plants. He came from a family of gardeners—his maternal grandfather worked in the extensive grounds of the abbey in Breteuil, the village where Bayard grew up. His father, a justice of the peace, was a passionate amateur gardener who grew peaches in an orchard attached to the family home. The garden(s) featured in Bayard’s self-portraits may indeed be part of the family property in Breteuil or his own home in Batignolles—an area that was just on the outskirts of Paris.
The setting becomes an integral aspect of these portraits. In this particular image, Bayard stands in front of an irregularly-shaped, almost branch-like wooden gate framed by vegetation. He is jauntily posed with his one hand leaning on the gate, a much-needed support used to maintain his pose over the extended period necessary for the exposure. The artist’s choice of clothing, including his cravat and brimmed cap as well as the positioning of his right arm at his waist and his pointed right leg, all combine to convey a sense of confidence.
*Four of the Getty’s Bayard self-portraits are part of a portfolio printed in 1965 by M. Gassmann and Son from Bayard’s original negatives that are housed in the SFP collection. (See: 84.XO.1166.1, 84.XO.1166.2, 84.XO.1166.8, and 84.XO.1166.25).
Carolyn Peter, J. Paul Getty Museum, Department of Photographs

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