Get local news delivered straight to your phone

We can't make City Paper without you

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

When people think of the photographic chroniclers of old Paris, they generally think of Eugène Atget, who lugged around an archaic large-format camera in the early 20th century, documenting disappearing buildings and streetscapes. But Atget had a less well-known antecedent in the mid-1800s: Charles Marville. Paris officials tapped Marville to photograph the city both before and after the landmark renovations ordered by Emperor Napoleon III and carried out by Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann—changes that turned a dilapidated medieval city into a grand capital with broad boulevards, walkways, and parks. The National Gallery of Art is mounting the first U.S. retrospective of Marville’s work, featuring 100 wet-plate images, dominated by his visual chronicle of the changes transforming the city that gave birth to photography.