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The Daguerre Monument

The Daguerre Monument

This monument pays tribute to French artist and inventor Louis-Jacques-Mandé-Daguerre (1787-1851), who revolutionized picture-making in 1839 by introducing the first practical form of photography to the world. Known as the daguerreotype, Daguerre's process used chemically sensitized plates of silver-clad copper to produce unique, direct-positive images that won international acclaim for their extraordinary clarity and detail.

In 1889 the Photographers' Association of America commissioned sculptor Jonathan Scott Hartley to create this work to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Daguerre’s achievement. Hartley's design features a likeness of Daguerre based on an original 1848 daguerreotype by the American photographer Charles R. Meade (1826-1858) of Meade Brothers Studio. The sculpture includes the kneeling figure of fame, who frames Daguerre's head with a laurel wreath fashioned from the garland that also encircles the globe – a symbol of the international impact of Daguerre’s invention. Upon its completion in 1890, the Daguerre Monument was. presented to the Smithsonian. It was placed in its current location in 1989, with the sponsorship of the Professional Photographers of America, to mark the 150th anniversary of photography.

Jonathan Scott Hartley (1845-1912)

Bronze and granite, cast in 1890 by Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company

Lent to the National Portrait Gallery by the National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

This monument is located on the grounds on the east side of the National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20001

An interesting side note about the bronze foundry that cast the monument: "It is important to separate the original Henry-Bonnard Bronze Co. from a 1990s business of a similar name – Henry Bonnard Bronze, Inc. – run by convicted art racketeer, Darrell Tyrone Coker." http://bit.ly/2R7yK2u


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