Portrait of girl. Santiago / Valparaíso, Chile. Circa 1880.
Vintage photographic portrait on albumen paper and in the "Portrait Cabinet" format. Measurements: 13.5 x 10 cm / 5.31 x 3.93 in. Copy mounted on the printed cardboard with the references of the photographic houses at the bottom of it: “Antigua Photography Garreaud. F. Leblanc. Santiago. Valparaíso ”. Exemplar in good condition.
A native of Paris, Félix Leblanc traveled to Chile around 1865; being brother-in-law of the French Pedro Emilio Garreaud he immediately entered the renowned Santiago studio as Principal Assistant. When PE Garreaud died in 1875, he took over his two establishments in Valparaíso and Santiago and kept the prestigious name of "Garreaud Photography" with which he operated for many years alone, or with various partners. We consider that this portrait corresponds to his Valparaíso local located on the famous Cruz de Reyes corner, a picturesque building on the point known as "Helsby's corner", in reference to that English pioneer of the port city camera.
There is a wide world iconography of early childhood photography, definitely the most difficult clients when it comes to portraying themselves in front of the scary camera and other threatening elements of the studio. To alleviate these difficulties, photographers of yesteryear resorted to various tricks, from sitting the babies on the lap of their mothers and babysitters to handing them attractive toys as effective distractions. Both gadgets were applied by Félix Leblanc in this interesting 19th century photograph; the intentional oval hides the woman in a black dress who is firmly holding the girl in white, who in turn grasps a toy steed in her little hand.
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