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Plate 49 from The Mechanism of Human Facial Expression

A work made of albumen print.

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  • A work made of albumen print.


c. 1856


Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne de Boulogne
French, 1806-1875

About this artwork

In collaboration with photographer Adrien Tournachon, French neurologist Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne de Boulogne recorded electrically induced facial expressions to illustrate his book on the subject. This print offers a rare example of an albumen print whose brown and purple tones still look as vivid as the day it was made. The rich color is an unintended byproduct of the addition of gold chloride (a chemical compound of gold and chlorine) to the processing bath, done to increase the stability of the image. Albumen images generally convey sharp details because the albumen binder prevents the silver particles from sinking into the fibers of the paper support. This sharpness is especially suitable for scientific images.


On View, Gallery 2


Photography and Media


Plate 49 from The Mechanism of Human Facial Expression


Made 1851–1861


Albumen print


Image: 23 × 17.5 cm (9 1/16 × 6 15/16 in.); Paper: 40 × 27.5 cm (15 3/4 × 10 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Photography and Media Purchase Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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