Gaspard-Felix Nadar

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nadar, Gaspard-Felix


(pseudonym of G. F. Tournachon). Born Apr. 5, 1820, in Paris; died there Mar. 20, 1910. French master photographer, caricaturist, and journalist.

In 1850, Nadar began photographing models for his caricatures; he soon took a great interest in portrait photography. A close friend of many French writers, artists, and composers of the second half of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th, Nadar left a gallery of their portraits, remarkable for psychological insight, which includes portraits of E. Delacroix, C. Baudelaire, G. Courbet, and C. Monet.

Nadar’s work reached its apogee from the 1850’s to the 1870’s. It was during this period that he experimented with the expressive possibilities of artistic photography. He was the first to make aerial photographs, taken from a balloon above Paris, and the first to take photographs using electric light and to make use of the close-up (a shot of C. Gounod’s eyes). In 1874, the first exhibition of paintings by Nadar’s friends, the future impressionists, was held in his studio.


Quand j’étais photographe. Paris, 1899.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.