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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Gabriel Lippmann

Other: Gabriel J.F. Lippmann 
Dates:  1845, 16 August - 1921, 13 July
Born:  Luxembourg, Hallerich
Died:  Dies on board the liner "France"
Active:  Germany / France
Gabriel Jonas Lippmann was born on August 16, 1845, in Hollerich, Luxembourg, of French parents. The family moved to Paris and in 1858 he entered the Lycée Napoleon and ten years later École Normale. Lippmann studied also in Germany, with Helmholtz in Berlin and with Kirchoff in Heidelberg where he received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1873. In Heidelberg he studied the relationship between electricity and capillary phenomena which led to the development of his capillary electrometer. In 1875 he moved to Paris and later became a professor of Mathematical Physics at the Sorbonne in 1883 and member of the Institute in 1886. At the Sorbonne he was teaching acoustics and optics. There he invented color photography and developed it during ten years. Lippmann became a member of the French Academy of Sciences in 1883 and its president in 1912. He was a member of the Bureau des Longitudes and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in London. In 1908 Lippmann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his color photography technique. Lippmann died at sea on July 13, 1921, on his return from a trip to North America.
[Contributed by Prof. Hans Bjelkhagen]

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Further research

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Gabriel Lippmann
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Visual indexes

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Supplemental information


Lippmann Photography Publications
by H. Bjelkhagen

H. I. Bjelkhagen: Lippmann photographs recorded in DuPont color photopolymer material, in Practical Holography XI and Holographic Materials III, ed. by S.A. Benton, T.J. Trout. Proc. SPIE 3011, 358-366 (1997)
H. I. Bjelkhagen, T.H. Jeong, R.J. Ro: Old and modern Lippmann photography, in Sixth Int'l Symposium on Display Holography, ed. by T.H. Jeong, H.I. Bjelkhagen. Proc. SPIE 3358, 72-83 (1998)
H. I. Bjelkhagen: New optical security device based on one-hundred-year-old photographic technique. Optical Engineering 38, 55-61 (1999)
H. I. Bjelkhagen: A new OVD based on interferential photography recorded in holographic materials, in Holographic Materials V, ed. by T.J. Trout. Proc. SPIE 3638, 87-95 (1999)
H. I. Bjelkhagen: Lippmann photography: reviving an early colour process. History of Photography 23, (No.3), 274-280, Autumn 1999.
H. I. Bjelkhagen: The Lippmann OVD for enhanced document security, in Optical Security and Counterfeit Deterrence Techniques III, ed. by R.L. van Renesse, W.A. Vliegenthart. Proc. SPIE 3973, 276-283 (2000)
H. I. Bjelkhagen, S. De Souza: Computer simulation of the Lippmann photographic process and recording experiments using holographic materials, in Practical Holography XV and Holographic Materials VII, ed. by S.A. Benton, S.H. Stevenson, T.J. Trout. Proc. SPIE 4296, 300-311 (2001)
H. I. Bjelkhagen: Lippmann photography: its history and recent development. The PhotoHistorian, Journal of the Historical Group of the Royal Photographic Society, APIS 2002 Special double edition, PH.141-142, pp.11-19 (2003)
H. I. Bjelkhagen: Lippmann Photography: A highly innovative OVD based on existing photographic techniques. Keesing's Journal of Documents 1, Issue 2 (2003)  

Internet biographies

Terms and Conditions

Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Gabriel Lippmann.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Bauret, Gabriel (ed. and text) 2001 Color Photography (New York: Assouline) [Includes example color photographs by Gabriel Lippmann] 
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