Considering the Arts #6: Daguerrotypes


Sunday, September 4, 2016
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Cost: Free

The Croton Council on the Arts is pleased to announce the September Considering the Arts speaker: Christopher Mahoney, a professional in the field of fine-art photography since 1991, and an expert on the evaluation and sale of 19th, 20th, and 21st-century photographs. In positions at Swann Galleries and at Sotheby’s, where he was made Head of the Photographs Department in 2014, he handled many of the most significant photographs to come to auction. He was directly involved with the sale of Edward Steichen’s The Pond—Moonlight which sold in 2006 for $2.9 million, the highest price paid at auction for a classic photograph. He was instrumental in the 2014 sale of 175 Masterworks to Celebrate 175 Years of Photography which, totaling $21 million, holds the record for most successful auction of photographs. He has a special interest in early American photographic history, particularly in that period between 1839 and 1860 when the daguerreotype was the dominant photographic technology. He has handled the sale of the most significant collections of daguerreotypes to appear at auction, including the Abraham Stransky collection and the trove of Southworth & Hawes daguerreotypes collected by David Feigenbaum, as well as individual daguerreotypes of John Brown, Frederick Douglass, among many other subjects. He oversaw the rediscovery and rehabilitation of Matthew Brady’s famous lost portrait of John C. Calhoun. His interest in the daguerreotype process extends to the current century, and he has written and lectured on contemporary photographers working with this seminal process.

Summary of the Talk

The daguerreotype was the first commercially viable photographic process made available to the public. Announced in 1839, the rights to the technique were purchased by the French Government from its inventor Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre and given to the world. Before the end of the year, Daguerre’s instruction manual had been translated into multiple languages and the photographic era had begun. America proved to be exceptionally fertile ground for this new art form. Not only were Americans responsible for some of the most significant technical upgrades to the new medium, they expanded its artistic vocabulary. Culturally, the daguerreotype was a remarkable phenomenon, and people from all walks of life had their portraits made. Daguerreotypists ventured out of their studios to photograph buildings, streets, farms, even in the California gold fields. The daguerreotype was responsible for showing American to itself, to a degree that no other medium had previously allowed. This lecture provides an introduction to the daguerreotype process, and shows a selection of the remarkable images that resulted from photography’s first flowering in this country.

Event Location and Ticket Information

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Symphony Knoll
15 Mt Airy Road South
Croton on Hudson, NY
Handicap Accessible? Yes

Date: Sunday, September 4, 2016
Times: 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Ticket pricing:
Free event

Presenter: Croton Council on the Arts

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